A lone gunman shot and wounded a lawyer and a pastor in a daring attack on Tuesday in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, police said.
Police said lawyer Paulino Ersando and Pastor Pablo Elis were shot in the village of Baliwasan. The duo was travelling in a car on their way to attend the burial of a friend when they were attacked.
Ersando is the president of the Zion Evangelical School in Zamboanga City, while Elis is an evangelical minister. The two were rushed to hospital and are now in stable condition, according to Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, a regional police spokesman.
“The motive of the attack has not yet been established. Police are investigating the attack. The gunman is still at large and is now the subject of police manhunt operation,” Huesca told The Times.
Ersando was a former lawyer of two Abu Sayyaf rebels—Jeffrey Jinnul and Adjid Halik—who were arrested in Zamboanga City in 2000. The two men were arrested while trying to exchange more than $200,000 at a local bank. Jinnul and Halik escaped after posting bail.
The two men were part of a group that held 21 mostly Europeans and Asian holidaymakers kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf from the resort island of Sipadan in Malaysia’s state of Sabah and brought them to Sulu province. The hostages were freed in batches after Malaysia and Libya paid millions of dollars in ransom to the Abu Sayyaf. AL JACINTO