(Photo courtesy of Pasay City Police)

MANILA – Police investigators are now conducting a backtracking investigation on the shooting of a lawyer of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) who was hurt in a shooting incident along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay City on April 4.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Gen. Dionardo Carlos, said the investigation aims to identify the route where lawyer Joseph Samuel Zapata, 30, deputy chief of the BOC's Internal Inquiry Division, passed by for possible identification of the suspects and their getaway motorcycle.

Interviewed relatives of the lawyer said they have no idea who could be behind the crime because they do not know anyone who has ill feelings towards the victim.

Two still unidentified suspects opened fire on the victim’s vehicle and fled the scene afterward.

“It may be difficult to establish the motive if there is no concrete evidence directing to a possible suspect. The victim’s testimony is of the essence here. His profession as a lawyer is an angle we are looking at,” Carlos said.

Pasay City investigators were able to recover five pieces of fired cartridge cases of 9mm ammunition submitted for ballistic and cross-matching examination.

PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo, said that based on their ballistics examination, the same firearm was used on three separate occasions where employees of the BOC were targeted this year.

Fajardo noted that the incidents on January 7 and 14, and on February 11 apparently had the same gun that was used on several of the victims

“On the incidents on January 7, January 14, and February 11, based on the cross-matching it showed that one weapon was used, a 9 mm. It matched the fired cartridge cases,” she told reporters on Wednesday.

She said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is conducting a parallel probe of the incident.

Ang NBI ay pumasok na rin, kasama natin sila nag iimbestiga at titingnan natin yung possibility na ito ay work-related dahil may mga hinahawakan na kaso sa Customs ang ating biktima (The NBI has also joined with us they are investigating and we will look at the possibility that it is work-related because there are our victim is being handled by Customs),” said Fajardo.

A total of six Customs employees have been attacked since December last year.

There were also two incidents of grenade throwing at the residences of Customs officials.

Fajardo said the PNP has filed a complaint for murder and illegal possession of firearms against a suspect they identified as the gunman in a shooting incident in January.

She said that the suspect was seen roaming around the vicinity of the BOC while carrying a gun last February.

Fajardo likewise noted that the gun used in the shooting of a Customs lawyer in December last year is also linked to the recent shooting incident in Rizal.

Lahat itong mga kaso ay tinitingnan natin kung nagkaroon ng pagkakaugnay. Nag-create na rin ang CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) ng SITG (Special Investigation Task Group) Adwana para tingnan at magkaroon ng focus dahil sa iba ibang lugar ito although most of the cases ay nangyari sa NCR pero pumasok na ang CIDG sa investigation at they will be the one coordination relative dito sa mga cases involving mga Customs personnel (All of these cases we look at to see if there was a correlation. The CIDG has also created the SITG Adwana to look at and have focus because it is in different places although most of the cases happened in NCR but the CIDG has entered the investigation and they will be the one coordination relative here in cases involving Customs personnel),” Fajardo said. (PNA)