GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/02 January) — The Police Regional Office (PRO) 12 has ordered a deeper investigation into the stray bullet incident in Cotabato City on New Year’s Eve that seriously injured a four-year-old boy.
Chief Supt. Lester Camba, Region 12 police director, said Friday he ordered Cotabato City police chief, Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, to give more attention to the case and ensure its swift resolution.
He said their main priority is the immediate identification of the suspect who fired the caliber .45 handgun that hit the victim on his left eye.
“This is a very disturbing case. I ordered the Cotabato City Police Office to focus on it and investigate all possible angles,” he told reporters.
Citing the latest medical bulletin from the Cotabato Regional Medical Center (CRMC), the official said the victim is under close observation as the bullet is still embedded in his head.
According to the child’s mother, Tarhata, they were about to sleep inside their home in Barangay Tukanes at past 10 p.m. on Wednesday when she heard something falling from their roof.
Upon checking, she found the boy’s left eye bleeding and immediately rushed him to the CRMC.
Camba said the victim’s house, which was made of light materials, was located near a river that separates Cotabato City and Maguindanao Province.
Prior to the incident, he said Cotabato City police personnel were on maximum deployment in the entire city to prevent possible cases of indiscriminate firing.
“There’s a big possibility that the suspect was from the Maguindanao side but we’re still looking into that,” he said.
Once the bullet is removed from the victim, he said they will immediately submit it to ballistic examination to determine whether it was fired from a licensed firearm.
The incident was one of the two cases of stray bullet injuries that were recorded by PRO-12 as of Friday morning.
Camba said the other case was reported in Pikit, North Cotabato.
In terms of firecracker-related injuries, he said they recorded a total of 96 cases so far in the entire region.
He said South Cotabato posted the most number of injuries with 40, followed by North Cotabato with 35, this city with 12, Sultan Kudarat with seven and Cotabato City with two.
Camba said these cases were reported by police personnel that they assigned in various private and government hospitals in the region.
“This is just partial as we’re still validating the reports from our other units,” he added. (MindaNews)