A PROFESSOR from the College of Commerce and Business Administration and his companions fell victims to four armed men aboard two motorcycles along Araneta corner Quezon avenues last June 12.

Lawyer Rafaelito Garayblas, executive secretary to the Office of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, his son Paulo, city hall employee Romel Javier, driver Jay Paningbatan, and Fidel Cabubas, were on their way to East Fairview, Quezon City aboard a red Subaru Forester, when two motorcycles suddenly appeared at the right side of the vehicle while it was on stop, and fired shots at them at around 7:30 p.m., a police report from the Quezon City Police District Criminal and Investigation and Detection Unit showed.

Rafaelito, 65, is the older brother of Faculty of Medicine and Surgery dean Ma. Graciela Garayblas-Gonzaga.

Paningbatan and Javier were able to trade shots with the suspects but were hit and were immediately rushed to the UST Hospital along with Garayblas’ son, who had wounds in the head and body.

Garayblas survived the incident and remained unharmed.

Christopher Abasula, one of the suspects, was killed in the encounter while five other civilians were hit by stray bullets.

Zosimo Buco and Andy and Baltazar Tupaz were brought to the East Avenue Medical Center for treatment. Ma. Theresa Manuel and Jan Paez were confined at St. Luke’s Hospital and the Philippine Orthopedic Center, respectively.

Garayblas disclosed that he has never received any death threat before and was clueless on the motive of the suspects.

“(The suspects’ motive) could be political or personal. But in my work, it is very inevitable for me (to displease others) but they should not treat me like this,” Garayblas added.

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Investigators are considering Garayblas’ position as one of the Manila mayor’s administrative assistants, as a possible reason for the failed assassination.

“We are now looking on the possibility that it has connection with Garayblas’ work in the Manila City Hall,” Quezon City Police District director Sr. Supt. Magtanggol Gatdula told the Varsitarian.

Manila Vice Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso said Garayblas’ work in the city hall could be the only link in the incident.

“The attack could be work-related but not politically motivated. In the government, there is such a thing as professional hazard which could happen to anyone. But definitely we will not tolerate such actions. There should be order,” Dumagoso said.

As of presstime, the three other suspects remain at large.

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