ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews / 18 October) – A freshman student at the Mindanao State University (MSU) main campus in Marawi City is still in coma at the Amai Pakpak Medical Center where he was rushed after he was shot at around 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the commercial center inside campus.
Ivan Polinar Almeda of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, is a freshman at the College of Sports, Physical Education and Recreation (CSPEAR) and a badminton varisty player.
Reports say Almeda was shot from behind by a still unidentified man. Authorities are still investigating the incident.
How the perpetrator managed to bring a gun inside campus has yet to be answered. Marawo City remains, like the rest of Mindanao, under martial law.
MSU President Habib Macaayong told MindaNews in a text message at 8:30 p.m. Thursday that Almeda was “in coma, now under medication” at the APMC. At 1 p.m. on Friday, Macaayong told MindaNews in a telephone interview that Almeda was still comatose. At 4 p.m., Almeda still lay comatose, he said.
“The MSU Security, with the military and police are investigating the case,” said Macaayong, who said he immediately made arrangements with the hospital for the expenses and for Almeda’s family to come to Marawi.
Almeda’s mother, Genevieve and a neighbor arrived early Friday morning in Iligan and Macaayong had them brought to the APMC in Marawi immediately.
The MSU President told MindaNews he summoned the students who were with Almeda when he was shot and was informed that what has been spreading via social media about an alleged fight during a game or a ‘love triangle’ issue were not true.
“We are still awaiting the results of the investigation,” Macaaayong said.
On Thursday night, he appealed for calm and sobriety in an advisory addressed to “All University Constituents MSU.”
“The dastardly shooting of an innocent freshmen student is an unfortunate but isolated case. We condemn the brutal act in the harshest terms,” he said.
“As University President and father, I ask everyone, Muslims and Christians alike, to pray for the victim. I assure you that all security measures are in place and that an investigation is now being conducted with the cooperation of the PNP (Philippine National Police) and the Army,” he said.
Macaayong vowed to exhaust all means to “find the perpetrator and make him suffer full force of the law.”
Lawyer Ras Mitmug of Marawi, a Member of Parliament in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, condemned the shooting of Almeda. He urged the school administration and authorities to”fully investigate this incident, to bring the perpetrators to trial and ensure Almeda and his family receive justice.”
MSU, he siad, was established “to be the melting pot of the south, a center for people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and faiths.”
“We cannot continue to call it so by turning a blind eye to these heinous crimes,” Mitmug, former Eduction Secretary in the defunct Autonomous Region. (Carolyn O. Arguillas /MindaNews)