By: Manuel “Boy” Mejorada

THE fatal shooting of Adonis Hontiveros at a police checkpoint in Sara, Iloilo on Sept. 23 has attracted my interest the first time it was reported on local radio the following morning of the 24th. I was on my way to the airport for my flight to Manila when I heard the report on Aksyon Radyo Iloilo. The details were still hazy but even then, I had already made a conclusion that it was plain murder.

The next few days unearthed more information, including testimonies of witnesses that showed the victim hadn’t run through a checkpoint as initially alleged. The victim died from a single gunshot wound that entered his back and exited through his chest. The bullet pierced a lung. Hontiveros was declared dead on arrival at the Sara District Hospital. He never had a chance.

Three policemen who were in plainclothes when the incident took place were identified as the culprits. To the credit of the Sara police, they put their colleagues under arrest and confiscated their firearms as suspects in the killing of Hontiveros.

Grief has filled the heart of the victim’s mother, and she is crying for justice. According to Aksyon, there have been at least two attempts to persuade her not to file charges. In exchange, she was promised financial assistance for the education of his younger brothers who were dependent upon him for support.

But she is firm in her stand to seek justice and ignored the tempting offers for settlement. Justice is all she wants for her dead son. Indeed, no amount of money will bring back his life.  It’s not that they don’t need money. They are poor. However, she’d rather endure poverty than sell away principle and justice for her son.

The steadfastness is admirable.

It appears that the Municipal Mayor of Sara, retired Army Major General Jon Aying, has a distorted sense of justice. That’s because in an interview with Aksyon Radyo, Aying said he suggested to the victim’s mother the possibility of a settlement. After all, the shooting did not look as if it was intentional, the retired General said in a taped interview.


Do you call that unintentional? Shooting a defenseless person driving a motorcycle could never be unintentional. There were three policemen. We don’t know yet who had fired the fatal shot. But an expert in firearms will tell you it’s not easy to hit a moving target, especially at night. The culprit must have taken careful aim at the back of the victim and pulled the trigger.

And now here comes Mayor Aying having the gall to suggest that the killer cop did not intend to fire his weapon. Or maybe he wants us to believe that the killer cop simply fired his gun with no target in particular. That Hontiveros just had the bad luck to be in the path of the bullet.

This is the kind of mentality that keeps the justice system in the country in its backward state. We have officials who use their authority and clout to try and shield violators of the law from the consequences of their actions. Mayor Aying should reorient his mind and use his office to promote justice, not squelch it.