‘I was late by 5 minutes’

Carmela Fonbuena
18-month-old Phil Tomas Lirazan is killed in an airport ambush on Friday, December 20

FRIDAY GRIEF. Felipe Lirazan was supposed to pick up his relatives at the airport on Friday, December 20, but found his nephew dead.Photo by Carmela Fonbuena

MANILA, Philippines – The bullet was not meant for 18-month-old baby Phil Tomas Lirazan, a victim in the NAIA-3 shooting on Friday, December 20. But it pierced through his head and killed him instantly.

The Lirazans do not know Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur Mayor Ukol Talumpa. They just happened to be in the arrival area at the airport with the Talumpas when motorcycle-riding killers shot dead the mayor, his wife Lea and nephew Salipudin Talumpa.

The killers also fired shots at the Lirazans, who just arrived from Bacolod City. A bullet pierced through the baby’s head, killing him instantly. His mother Marie Ann, 28, was shot in the hand.

“I was 5 minutes late. If it wasn’t for the traffic, it wouldn’t have happened to them,” said Navy petty officer Felipe Lirazan, uncle of the baby.

Felipe Lirazan said he was on the phone with Marie Ann before the shooting. He was telling them he was just around the corner. And then he heard gun shots.

Ironically, Lirazan said he was late because he was thinking of how to make the road travel comfortable for the baby. He had to add freon to his car’s aircon since he knew that Phil Tomas was not used to Manila’s heat.

The baby’s grandmother and cousin were also wounded and brought to the East Avenue Medical Hospital in Quezon City. They are Amalia Lirazan, 58, who was shot in the  back, and Diana Uy, who was shot in the head. – Rappler.com