CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 11 February) — A soldier opened fire at his companions who were sleeping inside one of the barracks in the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Barangay Patag early Saturday morning, killing four.
Army spokesperson Maj. Francisco Garillo Jr. said Private Johmar Villabito killed four soldiers and injured one before he was overpowered and killed by soldiers who were awakened by the gunshots.
Major Gen. Wilbur Mamawag, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, immediately set up a probe team to investigate what led Villabito to shoot his colleagues in the barracks of the division’s service battalion in Camp Evangelista here.
Garillo narrated that at around 1:10 am, Villabito allegedly entered the barracks and shot at his companions using his government-issued M16 rifle, killing Sgt. Rogelio Rojo; Cpl. Bernard Rodrigo; Pfc. Prince Kevin Balaba; and Private Joseph Tamayo.
A fifth soldier, SSgt. Braulio Macalos, was wounded but has been declared out of danger and is recuperating at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital at the 4th Infantry Division Headquarters.
Garillo said the suspect then tried to look for other soldiers sleeping in the other rooms in the barracks.
“The soldiers were already awakened by the gunshots and were ready for Villabito to enter,” Garillo said.
Garillo said Pvt Mark Anthony Aguinid and Pfc Joseph Estrada reportedly tackled Villabito and in the ensuing scuffle shot and killed the suspect.
In his visit to Camp Evangelista early this month, Army Chief Lt. General Romeo Brawner Jr., expressed concern over the rising cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among soldiers.
Brawner said they are setting up an army unit of psychologists to help soldiers who are suffering from anxiety disorder caused by stressful, frightening and distressing events. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)