Eddie Saberola, chair of Barangay Liliongan, Carmen town, was buying an electronic chip in one of the hardware stores in poblacion Kabacan when the unidentified suspect approached and shot him at around 3:50 pm Thursday.
It could be his ‘gut feel’ that saved Saberola’s life, his friends said. But others said it was his ‘anting–anting’ or amulet, made up of a diamond-shaped metal, that has kept the village chair from any harm.
When the suspect came near him, Saberola sensed that something was going to happen. So when the suspect fired his shot, it only hit a portion of Saberola’s head. The wound was not fatal, doctors at the Kidapawan City Doctors Hospital (KDH) said.
He was placed in an intensive care unit (ICU) at the hospital not because of the wound but due to high blood pressure. He was declared out of danger after his blood pressure returned to normal, KDH workers said.
The attempt on Saberola’s life happened while relatives and friends of slain couple George and Macel Alave-Vigo commemorated the 40th day after their death.
Authorities have yet to find out if the attempt on Saberola’s life was related with the killing of George and his wife. George was managing a program for tribal residents in the village where Saberola was the barangay captain.
George was project officer of the Community and Family Services International (CFSI), an international non-government based in Cotabato City that has a three-year project for the tribal and indigenous youth in Barangay Liliongan. Vigo was the second staff of the CFSI killed while doing the project in the village.
Sometime in 2003, unidentified suspects abducted former CFSI project officer Benjie Laguialaot while he was on his way to Kabacan town. Reports said he was brought to Bansalan, Davao del Sur where he was tortured and killed.
His body was found almost three months after his disappearance in a grave in Bansalan’s public cemetery.
The CFSI, however, did not see any connection. Earlier, a staff of the CFSI who requested anonymity said that they have no problems, whatsoever, in the implementation of their project in Barangay Liliongan.
In March this year, Saberola, together with some armed civilian volunteers and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), engaged in a firefight with a number of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas in a remote area in Barangay Liliongan.
No one was hurt in the armed fighting, though it resulted to displacement of hundreds of families in two sitios in Barangay Liliongan.
The conflict was prevented from escalating when members of the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) from the government and the MILF visited the area and held a series of consultations and dialogue with the involved parties days after the fighting. (Malu Cadelina Manar /MindaNews)