Ateneo shooting condemned by Bongbong Marcos, Sara Duterte, Leni Robredo

Government officials, as well as former Vice President Leni Robredo, have condemned the killing of three people in a fatal shooting incident inside the Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday (July 24).

Ateneo de Manila University shooting suspect gunman Chao Tiao Yumol (L) is escorted by police at Camp Karingal following his arrest.
Suspected gunman Chao Tiao Yumol (L) is escorted by police at Camp Karingal following his arrest after three people were killed in a shooting at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, suburban Manila, on July 24, 2022. Three people were killed July 24 in a rare shooting at a university in the Philippine capital Manila, officials said, in what appears to have been a targeted political assassination. (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

In a post on Sunday evening, Robredo said that the killing of ex-Lamitan City Mayor Rose Furigay, her aide Victor George Capistrano, and Ateneo security guard Jeneven Bandiala reminds the need to push back against the culture of impunity in the country.

“[The incident] reminds us to keep on pushing back on everything that promotes a culture of impunity,” Robredo said.

During the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, at least 18 mayors and 10 vice mayors had been killed on top of thousands of other drug- and non-drug-related extra-judicial killings (EJKs).

According to Robredo, Furigay and her husband Roderick, the incumbent mayor of Lamitan City, were “strong supporters” of Angat Buhay, the flagship anti-poverty program during Robredo’s term as VP.

Meanwhile, the dictator’s son and President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. also condemned the killing saying that he was “shocked and saddened” by the incident.

“We mourn with the bereaved, the wounded, and those whose scars from this experience will run deep,” Marcos said.

“We commit our law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and swiftly investigate these killings and bring all involved to justice,” he added.

At the same time, Vice President and Education secretary Sara Duterte-Carpio urged the Philippine National Police to address gun violence in the country.

“Such an act of violence should have no place in our society, especially in a place of learning – which is supposed to be considered a safe space for everyone, for the students mainly,” said the daughter of the former president.

Investigation ongoing

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday released a statement saying that investigation is currently ongoing and appropriate charges will be filed against the suspect.

Ateneo de Manila University said that they will continue assisting the PNP in the investigation of the incident.

“The Loyola Heights campus was immediately secured. The University assures the community that its campuses are safe, and security protocols are now being reviewed and strengthened further,” the statement read.

“[The incident] has robbed the members of the Law School class of 2022 of what was supposed to be a joyous celebration. The University and the Law School administration are assisting students, staff, and guests who are dealing with trauma from the incident,” the university said.

The shooting happened an hour before the start of the 2022 commencement exercises of the Ateneo de Manila School of Law at Areté, which was subsequently canceled.

Hannah Furigay, daughter of the ex-Mayor killed, was supposed to attend the graduation. She was also wounded and was rushed to the hospital.

‘Determined assassin’

The PNP recovered two handguns and a silencer allegedly used by the suspect identified as Chao-Tiao Yumol, which had a "long history" of legal disputes with Furigay.

"This looks to be a determined assassin," Police Brigadier General Remus Medina told reporters.

Yumol accused Furigay of being a "drug lord". However, during Furigay’s nine-year term, Lamitan City was a consistent recipient of the DILG's Seal of Good Local Governance award for four consecutive years.

Furigay’s counsel, Quirino Esguerra in an interview with ABS-CBN said that the shooting could be rooted in the personal grudge of Dr. Yumol, which could be traced all the way back to 2018.

In 2018, the former mayor ordered the closure of Yumol’s infirmary clinic because it was operating without a permit from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

In response, Esguerra said that Yumol “posted malicious insinuations” against the Furigay couple and the local government employees of Lamitan, leading to more than 70 cyber libel cases filed against him.

Esguerra added that the slain mayor was supposed to attend a hearing for the libel cases in Davao City scheduled for Monday (July 25).

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.