Retired Navy Captain Killed and Soldiers Attacked in Barber Shop
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A gunman killed a retired navy captain on a busy Manila street today and three people were killed when Communist rebels opened fire on soldiers in a barber shop, authorities said.
Newspapers and political opponents stepped up criticism of President Corazon Aquino for failing to curb a wave of assassinations that has taken the lives of more than 50 police and military officers in the Manila area this year.
Police, meanwhile, freed their second suspect held in the weekend murder of Cabinet member Jaime Ferrer, the local governments secretary. He was gunned down in a Manila suburb and authorities say they suspect Communist rebels.
In Cebu City, the country’s second largest city, business and religious leaders appealed today for law and order. At least 20 people have died in political violence there this year.
″We cannot do business unless we stop this violence,″ said Philip Tionko, president of the city’s Chamber of Commerce. ″This is a threat not only to the security of our business establishments but even to our homes.″
Police said retired Capt. Rosendo N. Jose, 68, had just stepped from his parked car in Manila’s Malate district when the gunman walked calmly to the vehicle, shot him twice in the head and fled.
Police said they did not believe Jose’s attacker was a Communist rebel since such assassins usually work with accomplices.
Police questioned two men in the Ferrer killing, including former Moslem rebel Amil Malagiok. But Malagiok was released Wednesday night after denying involvement in the slaying.
The second man, 21-year-old Gerry Justo, was freed today for lack of evidence.
Elsewhere, the military said Communist rebels killed one soldier Wednesday in a barber shop in Quezon province. But spokesman Col. Cris Maralit said other soldiers returned fire, killing two rebels.
Mrs. Aquino, who has vowed to crush extremists within five years, acknowledged the growing criticism about the deteriorating security situation in Manila, where crime has jumped by 30 percent this year.
″Many times, people accuse me of being weak because I do not resort to violence,″ she told an international women’s conference today. ″This is what democracy is all about. We cannot just arrest a person or detain a person unless we have all the sufficient evidence necessary.″
The 24,000-member New People’s Army has been fighting the government since March 1969.
Police on Cebu Island raided what they said was an illegal weapons factory in Danao City and seized more than 140 pistols and weapons parts. Police said the factory was believed to have sold weapons to Japanese gangsters.
Newspaper and radio commentators today said lack of progress in the Ferrer case as another example of the government’s inability to maintain law and order and solve major crimes committed since Mrs. Aquino took office on Feb. 25, 1986.
They include numerous coup plots, bombings, the unsolved murder of labor leader Rolando Olalia, the bombing at the Philippine Military Academy which killed four and a string of kidnappings of foreigners and killings of police, soldiers and low-ranking officials.
″The commander-in-chief is neither chief nor commander,″ wrote columnist Luis Beltran in today’s Philippine Star. ″Unless President Aquino comes out of shock and starts acting as if she were in charge, a lot of people will begin salting away dollars again, or building arsenals, having had their confidence in her government doused by a shower of blood.″