On the recent shooting incident at the Ateneo

By Joshua Corcuera

On the afternoon last Sunday, July 24, several media outlets reported a shooting incident at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

As of 5:48 PM last July 24, ABS-CBN has reported 3 dead in the shooting, including a former mayor of the city of Lamitan from the province of Basilan. The culprit has been caught by authorities who was confirmed by the latter to be a registered physician in Basilan. The incident was widely condemned with Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte stating that “we strongly denounce the shooting incident at the Ateneo de Manila University that occurred Sunday afternoon. This kind of incident has no place in our society and must be condemned to the highest level.” The country’s two highest officials also expressed similar remarks last Sunday. President Marcos Jr. remarked “we commit our law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and swiftly investigate these killings and bring all involved to justice.”

Former Vice President Leni Robredo also provided an identical statement Sunday evening. “That this happened in broad daylight,” noted Robredo, “at an occasion which marks the culmination of the many years of hardwork of the graduating law students, and which included the killing of the Ateneo security guard make the incident more tragic,” she continued. “It reminds us to keep on pushing back on everything that promotes a culture of impunity,” Robredo ended.

The provincial government of Basilan has condemned the attack. “The provincial government of Basilan and the entire people of Basilan condemn the killing of the dynamic, development performer and undefeated former mayor of Lamitan City and her staff.” The local government unit noted that the former mayor’s term saw the city government receiving numerous awards and recognitions by various award-giving bodies whether domestic or foreign. Meanwhile, Robredo also noted in her post on Facebook that the victim was a supporter of her Angat Buhay program during her stay in office. The 25-year-old daughter of the former mayor is wounded and has survived as of late Sunday afternoon; she is supposed to graduate from Ateneo Law on the same day. It was reported that another victim to the shooting was a security guard from the prestigious university.

The Quezon City Police District, as of Sunday evening, reported that the motives of the suspect are personal, including the fact that the suspect is facing 76 counts of cyber libel filed by the former mayor. The suspect claimed that he cannot practice his profession because of such cases. He also claimed that the suspect had a history of corruption.

While corruption is not a good thing, killing and violence are also terrible things that deserve condemnation and consequence of punishment. More importantly, the allegations of the suspect that the former mayor was involved in corruption is being investigated and is not considered, as of writing, to be true. This is also why we have courts of law; our courts exist not as a mere design because of their good-looking facades, they exist because aggrieved persons can run to such courts in search of justice. Simply stated, justice should not be placed in the hands of ordinary people, it must be dispensed by proper authorities observing due process and equal protection. After all, the accusations of alleged victims may turn out to be false or erroneous in the first place. In this case, the accusation of the suspect that the former mayor is involved in corruption may not be true.

May justice be served to the victims and loved ones of this tragic shooting incident at the Ateneo, and may criminals and murderers be punished to the full extent of the law.