Lucena folk sound alarm over riding-in-tandem shootings

Darcie de Galicia

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Lucena folk sound alarm over riding-in-tandem shootings

10th VICTIM. Unidentified riding-in-tandem gunmen ambushed Charles Moises Abadilla Vidal, 33, early morning on May 16, 2023 along the Old Maharlika Highway in Barangay Isabang, Lucena City. He was the 10th victim of a riding-in-tandem attack since March.

Darcie De Galicia

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan passes a resolution to conduct a probe into the killings, but the Quezon Provincial Police Office calls the attacks "isolated cases"

LUCENA CITY, Philippines – Parents, workers, service riders, and small business owners in this capital city of Quezon province urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to resolve the riding-in-tandem attacks here that have killed seven persons and wounded three others since March.

The provincial council also passed a resolution expressing concern and calling for an investigation into the killings.

The latest shooting early morning on Tuesday, May 16 killed 33-year-old Charles Moises Abadilla Vidal.

Riding-in-tandem assailants shot Vidal, who was riding a motorcycle, along the Old Maharlika Highway in Barangay Isabang.

Gunmen on a motorcycle on May 11 wounded 28-year-old Jordan Roxas as he was walking home along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Ibang Iyam. They also wounded a bystander, Fredirex Jaco Catabua. Both have been declared safe and in recovery.

That the last two shootings happened on the main highway traversing Lucena City prompted calls for a swift investigation by the police.

Edward, a 27-year-old tricycle driver, who asked that his last name be withheld, told Rappler he feels worried every time he goes out to work. 

“Nakakatakot ng basta lumabas ng walang kasama araw man on gab,i dahil wala ng pinili oras ang kriminal. Wala man ako atraso, hindi mo alam kapag oras ng pag sundo o paghatid sa anak mo sa eskwelahaan baka ung kasabay mong magulang eh target dahil may atraso pala at madamay ka or tamaan ka ng ligaw na bala,” he said in an interview on May 16.

(It’s frightening to go out alone, whether it’s during the day or at night because criminals don’t choose a specific time. Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, you never know if the moment you’re picking up or dropping off your child at school, the parent next to you might be the target of someone with a grudge, and you could get caught in the crossfire or hit by a stray bullet.”)

Provincial council

During the 44th regular session of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on May 15, 2nd District Board Member Bong Talabong proposed to invite Quezon Police Provincial Director, Col. Ledon Monte. 

“This is to clarify and take necessary actions regarding the incidents of crime and violence happening not only in Lucena City but also in other towns and cities in the province,” he said.

Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan agreed to pass a resolution expressing concern over the unsolved crime and violence in Lucena and other towns and cities in the province, although they did not give figures for the latter.

The Lucena Police Office, headed by Police Lt. Col. Erickson Ronares, has not arrested any suspect in the shootings.

The Lucena PNP has also not released an official statement regarding the status of their investigation into the killings. 

But in a statement, Quezon Police Provincial Office chief, PCol. Ledon Monte said the killings are “isolated cases” and should not be cause for alarm. 

The police said the killings were not related to each other. 

Monte directed local police stations to double the deployment of checkpoints at barangay entry and exit points.

‘ISOLATED CASES’. Quezon provincial police office statement on the rash of killings in Lucena City from March to May 2023.
Other victims

On May  10, Dennis Amat, 47, died from wounds to the head and body. Gunmen shot him after he had dropped off his child at school, also in Barangay Isabang. 

A day prior to the attack on Amat, riding-in-tandem gunmen killed Michael Gadia Garcia, 43 years old, and his 12-year-old daughter, Mara Zoleta Garcia in Purok Central, Barangay Mayao Castillo. They were heading for the child’s school around 5:30 am when the attack happened.

INVESTIGATION. Operatives of the Lucena Police Office Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) conducting forensic investigation on a shooting along the Maharlika Highway in Barangay Ibabang that wounded the target, Jordan Pilar, and bystander, Fredirex Cabatua on May 11, 2023. Lucena PNP

Two other attacks occurred in April.

Randy Baldonado died from multiple wounds suffered in an ambush on April 30 in Purok Happy Valley, Barangay Ibabang Dupay.

Solo parent vendor Wilma Nacman Urlanda survived three wounds after she was attacked on April 17 as she headed for the market around 4:30 am.

An unidentified suspect shot dead live-in partners, John Carlo Del Mundo Leoparte, and Charisse Daen at the corner of Magallanes Corner Enriquez St., Barangay 6, around 11 pm on March 1.


Residents of this city urged greater police visibility.

David, a 60-year-old former police civilian employee, told Rappler that more police should be stationed on major roads.

He also questioned if CCTV cameras on roads were regularly checked.

“Where are the mobile patrol cars? They should be roving, especially as the fiesta nears and many people go in and out of the city,” David said in a mix of Tagalog and English.

Lucena City celebrates the Kapistahan ni San Fernando Hari (St. Ferdinand) on May 30. The Lucena Cathedral is formally called the Saint Ferdinand Cathedral Parish. – Rappler.com

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