Soldier killed, four others wounded in bar squabble

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – A commotion triggered by drunkenness claimed the life of a soldier and caused injuries to four others at a restobar in Barangay Singcang-Airport here early Wednesday.

Killed was Private First Class (PFC) Edmark Iwayan, 26, of Escalante City, Negros Occidental, a former scout ranger.

Wounded were Iwayan’s colleague, PFC Joebert Villagracia, 29, of Moises Padilla, and restobar owner and former soldier Joebert Visem, 25, of Sipalay City, both of Negros Occidental.

Also wounded were suspects – bank accountant Ulysis Carampatana, 41, and Joseph John Magahum, 45, both residents of Barangay Taculing here.

Iwayan and Villagracia were augmentation personnel of the Army’s 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Negros Oriental who clashed with the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental last month, according to Brigadier General Inocencio Pasaporte, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde).

Police Major Joery Puerto, head of Police Station 8, said Villagracia accompanied Iwayan here to get their bonus which was released on Nov. 15.

The two soldiers later visited Visem, who is their friend and former classmate. They stayed for a drinking session, according to Puerto.

While they were drinking, Carampatana’s group of about 10 individuals arrived around midnight and also had a drinking session, Puerto said.

When Visem announced that the bar will be closing and that he will only cater to the last order of Carampatana’s group, the latter allegedly drew his .9mm caliber firearm, Puerto said.

This prompted Iwayan and Visem to pacify Carampatana until they all grappled with the said firearm.

Magahum also allegedly backed up Carampatana until a series of gunshots were heard.

Puerto said that Villagracia was talking to someone on his cellular phone outside the restobar during the commotion.

He attempted to help his friends, but when he was about to go, someone from Carampatana’s group allegedly hit him with a hard object in the head, causing him to fall unconscious.

Police recovered from the scene 11 fired cartridges of .9mm-caliber ammunition, five fired cartridges of .45-caliber ammo, five deformed slugs, and Iwayan’s issued .45 caliber firearm.

But Carampatana’s firearm was not recovered and was believed to have been taken by his other companions who fled, Puerto said.

Iwayan suffered eight gunshot wounds and was declared dead on arrival at a hospital, while Visem, Carampatana, and Magahum each suffered a lone gunshot wound and were taken to separate hospitals here.

Puerto believed that Iwayan was probably able to return fire at Carampatana, considering the fired bullets recovered from the crime scene.

Puerto said that murder charges will be filed against Carampatana.

“Daw overkill abi ang natabo kay kadamo ni sang igo ka biktima,” he added.

Villagracia is also confined in a hospital here.

Meanwhile, Pasaporte said Iwayan and Villagracia asked permission from the unit to get their bonus.

But he noted that the shooting was considered not related to their service as soldiers.

Despite this, Pasaporte said that they will conduct a separate investigation and the case will undergo deliberation.