"Huwag silang tanga (Don't be stupid). They should know what they were doing before attacking [us]."
In between painful gasps, contruction worker Eliseo Aluad lashed out at the police and village watchmen who almost killed him but succeeded in snuffing out the lives of his live-in partner and a coworker.
Aluad was immobile, his face swollen, as he lay in bed at the Mandaluyong City Medical Center on Saturday afternoon. He could hardly speak after suffering four gunshot wounds in the face, body and legs.
He was one of the seven passengers of the white Mitsubishi Adventure van that, according to police investigators, was shot at least 36 times by barangay volunteers, and later by responding policemen at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Old Wack Wack Road in Barangay Pleasant Hills around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Lying next to him in the hospital was the van's driver, Danilo Santiago, who was also recuperating from gunshot wounds.
The van's three other passengers - Mhury Jamon, Simeon Rimbao and Roel Distor - escaped the fusillade unharmed.
Aluad's lover Jonalyn Ambaon and construction worker Jomar Hayawun died on the spot.
Aluad said he was cradling Ambaon, who was already unconscious after taking a bullet in the head in an earlier shooting incident in Barangay Addition Hills, when all hell broke loose.
Santiago had volunteered to drive for Aluad and four of his coworkers as they tried to take her to the hospital.
A report to Chief Supt. Ronaldo Biay, Eastern Police District director, said the first shooting incident happened around 10 p.m. following an altercation over the ear-rending noise caused by LPG tanks being unloaded from a truck by four delivery boys next to the Mandaluyong City College construction site in Addition Hills.
The group, led by a certain Abdurakman Alfin, apparently resented being told by Aluad about the loud noise, the report said.