THE Department of Health (DOH) has contradicted a report of the Malabon City (Metro Manila) Police that a 15-year-old girl was a shooting victim and that she was not hit by a stray bullet during the New Year revelry.
Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial on Monday insisted that Emilyn Villanueva, from Malabon City, who is still in critical condition at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila, was hit in the head by a stray bullet.
“We still categorize it as stray bullet from indiscriminate firing because the bullet hit the child on the head [consistent with]the trajectory of a stray bullet, [which is]vertical,” Ubial told ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel.
She said the victim’s CT scan shows that “it [bullet]came from the top of the head and it went downward.”
The Malabon City Police on Sunday said the teenager was not hit by a stray bullet but was shot by a still unidentified gunman.
The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) also said it was a “shooting incident.”
Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Philippine National Police chief, earlier promised to use “the full force of law” against revelers and policemen who would ring in the New Year by firing their guns.
Ubial said the DOH does not have the information that the police may have regarding activities or firing in the area, but “in terms of the health indicator, the CT scan that we have, the trajectory of the bullet was really from up going downward.”
She cited the Glasgow scoring, which gives the most severe brain injury a rating of 3 and that Villanueva is already at 4.
“The injury is very severe, prognosis is not so good, but we’re still praying and hoping that a miracle will happen,” the DOH chief said.
Stopping indiscriminate shooting in the country, she added, would take an entire culture change, not simply individuals deciding not to use their guns.
Ubial said gun owners must not use their firearms when they are intoxicated.
She added that it may not be the harsh penalties awaiting perpetrators that will stop them from committing the crime but the certainty of being arrested for it.
The NCRPO chief also on Monday said two criminal cases will be filed against the lone suspect in the wounding of the Malabon City teenager.NCRPO chief Oscar Albayalde said that the suspect will be slapped with attempted homicide and murder.
Albayalde, however, refused to disclose the identity of the suspect pending the outcome of a manhunt for the gunman.
The suspect was said to have fired his gun at a man with whom he has an old grudge but he missed.
Instead, Villanueva was hit while watching her neighbors greet 2017.
FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO AND NELSON S. BADILLA