Safety concerns raised after Tuguegarao campus shooting incident involving student rejected for romantic advances

November 20, 2023 - 6:18 PM
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Couple arguing
Silhouette of a couple arguing (Image by Frepik)

Trigger Warning: Article contains graphic descriptions of violence 

Some Filipinos raised alarm over the behavior of a college student in Tuguegarao City who shot and assaulted his female classmate at a university parking lot last week.

Twenty-year-old Kristian Rafael Ramos, a third-year medical technology student at the St. Paul University of the Philippines, shot fellow student Althea Vivien Mendoza twice and hit her head with a pistol 11 times on November 13.

Witnesses said they saw the suspect physically assaulting the victim inside his car before the shooting took place in the university parking lot.

Ramos later left his car.

Tuguegarao City Police Chief Lieutenant Colonel Richard Gatan said that Ramos’ father, a non-officer member of the Philippine National Police assigned in Isabela, voluntarily surrendered the suspect at the police station where the latter was detained for around 36 hours.

The suspect was charged with frustrated murder and violation of the Omnibus Election Code, particularly the election gun ban.

Reports said Ramois posted bail in the amount of P236,000 on November 15, two days after the incident. Bail for frustrated murder amounted to P200,000, while the bail for violating the Omnibus Election Code was set at P36,000.

The bail order was granted by the Tuguegarao City Regional Trial Court Branch 5.

Meanwhile, the pistol that Ramos used in the assault was not registered under his name.

Mendoza was brought to a hospital after sustaining a serious head injury and a gunshot wound in the jaw. As of November 17, she was already in a stable condition and recovering.

The police said the two were close friends. Ramos also had a crush on Mendoza, who he courted.

However, Gatan said “she only considered him a friend and the latter did not want him, so he was very hurt and committed the shooting and beating.”

PNP-Tuguegarao Information Officer Police Capt. Ana Marie Anog said that based on their investigation, Ramos was rejected by Mendoza.

Police provincial director Colonel Julio Gorospe Jr. held a dialogue between the public and private school heads following the incident to remind them of security resources.

Meanwhile, a video of the assault was made available online.

The incident alarmed Filipinos who learned of the incident, including the motive behind the crime.

“All [because] the girl didn’t want to be courted?? Tapos friends pajud sila?? Lord, why did [you] create men with fragile egos,” a Pinoy commented.

“Based on the replies, the victim was friends with Ramos. Ramos was romantically interested [and] wanted to start courting her. Victim was not interested, and said no. Ramos retaliated by assaulting her. Men do not know how to take no for an answer,” another user wrote.

“When will women ever be safe around men? Jesus Christ, nakakagalit,” a different Pinoy commented.

“All because the girl rejected him. Dimunyu,” wrote another user.

Another Filipino claimed that suspect “threatened other girls” as well and that he allegedly planned to go after those who rejected his romantic advances.

The incident has reached Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr., who similarly expressed did not take the incident lightly.

He said that he “will personally monitor this case and ensure that justice is done.”

“Bilang Kalihim ng DILG ay hindi ko papayagan ang anumang uri ng karahasan laban sa mga kababaihan,” he said in a Facebook post on Monday, November 20.

“I will also talk to our educators to find out how we can better ensure the safety of children inside their campuses. Hopefully, our schools can find better ways to detect troubled or disturbed individuals so that they can intervene sooner,” Abalos added.

“I ask the public to join me in an effort to put an end to violence against women and children. Sugpuin natin ang karahasan laban sa kababaihan at kabataan alang-alang sa mas makatao at makatarungang lipunan,” the Cabinet official said.