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The family and friends of a Vietnamese businessman are pleading with authorities to expedite their investigation into the identity of the mask-wearing gunman who shot him multiple times early Monday night around 7:30 p.m. at his home in Purok El Rancho, Barangay Sta. Monica.

The doctor at the hospital who attended to Kim Vu Dang, also known as Vu Dang, a 39-year-old lobster trader and shooting victim, attempted to resuscitate him, but he succumbed to his wounds in the head and abdomen and was subsequently pronounced dead.

Mark Nephi Ramos, a 38-year-old employee who was at his home when the shooting occurred, also suffered a gunshot wound to his right hand.

Witness A informed Palawan News that the perpetrator, whose identity is still unknown due to the mask he was wearing, posed as a lobster seller.

Police are shown in this image investigating the scene of the crime in El Rancho, Barangay Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City.

“Noong time na yon, kami yong kasama niya. Si boss, doon sa lamesa—may biglang dumating, magde-deliver nga ng baby lobster. Hindi ko makilala—naka face mask siya (At that time, we were with him. Our boss was at the table when someone arrived to deliver baby lobsters. I couldn’t recognize the person since he was wearing a face mask),” he said, describing the suspect as 5’2 in height.

“Nagbenta na yon ng lobster kahapon (May 7), pero hindi namin maalala kung anong itsura. Grabe, mabait at simple lang si boss. Ang hirap tanggapin—blangko talaga kami (He already sold lobster yesterday, but we can’t remember his face. It’s just so sad because our boss is really kind, a simple person),” he added.

Witness B, on the other hand, said it is likely that the assailant had sold lobsters to Vu beforehand, as he had been conducting surveillance to plan his attack.

“Open lang kasi sa El Rancho ang bahay niya dahil sa negosyo niya ng pagbebenta ng lobster. Nagbenta yon, tinanggap naman niya, pero ito nga ang nangyari. Napakabait ni Vu, wala kang masabi (His house was open at El Rancho because of his lobster selling business. He received the buyer, but this is what happened. Vu was really kind, you can’t say anything bad about him),” he said.

According to Vu’s wife, she was in a nearby house engaged in an activity when she heard four gunshots. This prompted her to rush to the terrace and yell at everyone to take cover, as she thought there was a shootout taking place.

She later learned that it was Vu who had been shot, and was fighting for his life, and their employee Nephi.

“Alam ng lahat na hindi masamang tao ang asawa ko. Only one lang talaga ang nasa isip at puso ko—kung sino yong nagpahirap sa amin dati, siya pa rin hanggang ngayon. Siya lang talaga yong may galit sa asawa ko. Dahil ito sa hanapbuhay, dahil hindi niya kayang pantayan ang asawa ko,” she said.

(Everyone knows that my husband is not a bad person. There’s only one thing on my mind and in my heart—whoever caused us trouble before, he is the one causing us trouble until now. He is the only one who holds a grudge against my husband. It’s because of business, and he cannot compete with my husband.)

She was alluding to the conflict in the lobster trade, which arose sometime ago, as her husband had competitors in the industry in Palawan.

“Humihingi ako ng tulong. Ilang taon na po na kilala niyo ang asawa ko. Humihingi talaga ako ng tulong, umaasa ako sa inyo na tulungan niyo ako na mabigyan ko ng hustisya yong aking asawa. Hindi ako makakatulog hangga’t di ko maramdaman na naghirap din yong gumawa sa asawa ko,” she said.

(I am asking for help. You have known my husband for many years now. I am really asking for help, I am hoping that you can help me give justice to my husband. I won’t be able to sleep until I feel that the person who did this to my husband will also suffer.)

Councilor Luis Marcaida, who was a friend of Vu, urged the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation in order to apprehend the culprit.

“He said, “Kailangan talaga itong ma-imbestigahan. Ano ang motibo? Ano ang dahilan at mga problema na pinagdaanan niya sa nakaraan? Hindi natin alam (This really needs to be investigated. What is the motive? What are the reasons and problems that he went through in the past? We don’t know).”

He also stated that he believes the Philippine National Police will focus on the investigation and added that his friend, who was kind to everyone, deserves justice.

Police statement
The Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) confirmed in a statement that Vu was shot inside his bodega’s stockroom by the unidentified assailant, and he suffered gunshot wounds in his head, arm, and abdomen.

P/Col. Ronie Bacuel, acting PPCPO director, “condemned in the strongest terms possible the senseless killing” of Vu and pledged to close the case.

He said he has already issued orders for a pursuit to apprehend the shooter. In addition, he pleaded with the public to assist the police if they have any information that could cast light on what happened to Vu.

“Nagbigay na ako ng direktiba sa lahat ng operatiba ng Puerto Princesa City Police Office na magsagawa ng hot pursuit operations at tingnan lahat ng mga CCTV footage na posibleng nahagip ang salarin para agad mahuli ang mga suspek na responsible sa krimeng ito. Asahan nino na hindi kami titigil hanggang hindi nareresolba ang kasong ito,” Bacuel said.

(I have already given directives to all operatives of the Puerto Princesa City Police Office to conduct hot pursuit operations and review all possible CCTV footage that may have captured the suspects responsible for this crime in order to immediately apprehend them. Rest assured that we will not stop until this case is resolved.)