George ( not his real name ), many years ago, admitted to me the only time other people get hurt in a slay job is when they become direct obstacles to the target person(s). It is popularly known as collateral damage. Refusing to divulge how many persons he has killed as a member of the dreaded Sparrow Unit of the New Peoples Army, George said collateral damage only happens when in killing a target, a person or several others pose as a threat in successfully bringing the job into its conclusion.
Faisal ( not his real name ), a special operations group member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), also admitted of the same disposition. Capping as a caveat in ensuring only those targeted are eliminated, is a cultural trait among the Moro people known as rido (clan feud). You don’t want to add another person to a killing that would in the first place already demand a life in exchange for the life taken by an assassin, he explained when I met him for the third time somewhere in Lanao del Sur years ago.
TJ ( again, not his real name ) describes killing other than the target(s) as a palpak na trabaho (failure of contract) and not good for an assassin’s resume’. Your efficiency in fulfilling a kill contract is your best track record, and, in the long term, usually ensures a high pay grade for future jobs, he said.
TJ, a freelance hired gun, died three years ago. He was shot in cold blood allegedly by special police operatives.
Now, if Monday’s blast at the House of Representatives was meant for Rep. Wahab Akbar, most would really consider the Moro insurgents, political enemies or hired killers as possible masterminds.
But even the military establishment itself continues to hound the late Basilan governor with his alleged ties with the Abu Sayyaf Group. The ASG, for its part, issued a statement denying responsibility for the killing.
It is also safe to say that no one has yet measured enough courage among Akbar’s political enemies as to directly take in a bloody and long-running clan war with the late congressman’s family and kin.
As for hired killers, you don’t expect them to use IEDs (improvised explosive device) in eliminating a single person. If only one person is the target, nobody would ever hatch an operational plan of a kill inside Congress. There are far too many alternative locations to execute the job.
Which leaves us with the remaining option that what happened was what it was really supposed to be. The use of an IED as the right choice of weaponry. The location, strapping it inside a regularly parked motorcab outside Congress’s south wing, was the best, since its where most of House Representatives come out after session ends. The time couldn’t be more appropriate, considering the after-session timeframe and usually less secured.
(Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews' effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries, the countries they're presently working in, their growing up years or homecomings in Mindanao, their hopes and dreams and suggestions for Our Mindanao. Merpuvel Roa, who used to be based in Ozamiz City as journalist, left his city in 2004. He is now a youth specialist in his church. As founding member of the Mindanao News and Information Cooperative, he continues to touch base and writes this column for MindaNews).