MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Police District (MPD) will launch a manhunt against Vhon Martin Tanto, the suspected gunman in a road rage incident in Manila, if he does not surrender by Wednesday afternoon, July 27.
Tanto is a Philippine Army reservist suspected of shooting dead cyclist Mark Vincent Garalde in Quiapo, Manila last Monday, July 25, after the two got into a heated argument.
Closed circuit television (CCTV) footage showed the gunman getting into a Hyundai Eon. Tanto is believed to be the owner of the vehicle, based on the conduction sticker caught on camera.
In a press conference on Wednesday, MPD director Senior Superintendent Joel Napoleon Coronel showed photos of the suspect, and said a manhunt will be launched if Tanto does not surrender.
“As seen on the CCTV, we consider him extremely dangerous and armed,” Coronel said.
The CCTV footage showed the suspect in a heated argument with Garalde along P. Casal in Manila. The two engaged in a fistfight, with Tanto later shown retrieving a gun from his car and shooting Garalde.
Garalde was killed on the spot. A passer-by, identified as 18-year-old Rocel Bondoc, was injured by a stray bullet.
In a statement, the Philippine Army confirmed that Tanto is a member of the Caloocan City-based 1301st Community Defense Center, National Capital Region Regional Community Defense Group of the Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM), with a rank of Private.
Army spokesperson Colonel Benjamin Hao said the ARESCOM has been directed to locate Tanto and conduct an investigation.
“We strongly condemn the incident…Rest assured that the Philippine Army will cooperate with the PNP and other investigating body for the immediate resolution of the case so that justice be served,” Hao said.
Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada vowed to have the suspect brought to court to face the charges against him.
“I have directed the MPD to see to it that the culprit is captured and brought to court to face charges. To the family of Mr. Garalde, our condolence. I assure you that justice will be given,” Estrada said.
The mayor also gave assurances that Bondoc, who remains in critical condition at the Mary Chiles Hospital in Sampaloc, will be given help.
Estrada said Bondoc, an orphan who lives with her grandmother in Quiapo, is one of the city’s scholars, and that he had even recommended her to the Universidad de Manila.
“Rocel is one of our city scholars, a bright student and has a very bright future ahead. It pains me to see her in the hospital, wounded,” he said. – with reports from Ben Nabong/Rappler.com