USM official hurt in shooting

MATALAM, North Cotabato (MindaNews/17 June) — An official of the state-owned University of Southern Mindanao (USM) was wounded when an unidentified gunmen shot her while she was about to enter her house at Uyanguren Street here, around 6:15 p.m. Sunday, a police official said.

Senior Inspector Elias Dandan, chief of Matalam police, identified the victim as Dr. Cynthia Alpas, head of the USM’s human resource management office.

Dandan said the victim had just alighted from her car when the assailant shot her in the back with a .45 caliber pistol.

The gunman was about to shoot her again but the presence of some bystanders prevented him from doing so.

He then boarded a motorcycle parked near the victim’s house where a companion was waiting for him, Dandan said.

The police official said Alpas’ condition was already stable after she was rushed to a hospital in Kidapawan City.

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the shooting incident was related to the ongoing crisis at the USM where some groups are pressing for the ouster of its president, Dr. Jesus Derije, for alleged corruption and abuse of authority.

A day before Alpas’ shooting, the Toyota Fortuner car owned by Orlando Forro, head of USM’s Physical Plant and Services, was burned in his garage by an unidentified person with the use of gasoline.

Forro he tried to save the car but failed.

He added he is not sure if the arson was related to the protest against Derije but stressed he has not violated the rights of his personnel or of any other people while tension ran high over the issue.

Forro, who used to head the security management of USM, was reassigned as head of the physical plant and services on May 13.

In an interview, Dr. Antonio Tacardon, former vice president for student affairs, said that some security personnel of USM even supported the protests against Derije.

Tacardo said some of them were slapped with cases at the Civil Service Commission while others were charged with sedition. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)