“Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.” John F. Kennedy
By Alex P. Vidal
Two years after he survived a murder attempt, Iloilo broadcaster Fernando “Kapid” Gabio said he has forgiven his assailants.
“We have agreed to settle the case. I have forgiven them,” Gabio, 64, told me during a chance meeting at the La Paz public market April 30. “Part of our settlement is for them to pay my hospital expenses.”
“During the settlement in court, I told the triggerman he was a lousy shooter because he hit me only on the leg. I told him had I was given the chance to shoot him back, I would make sure he was dead,” said Gabio, who always carried a gun even before the incident. “I agreed to settle the case when they admitted they were merely hired to finish me off.”
The gunman, he said, is the nephew of a colleague in media, who was his former partner in a radio blocktime program. “When I learned that the shooter was connected to (name of his colleague), I decided to divorce from him,” he said in jest. “I told him how come he did not alert me when his nephew was planning to liquidate me. He is a traitor.”
Gabio showed to me his right thigh and the scars of the gunshot wound he suffered when two motorcycle-riding men shot him at around 7 o’clock in the morning on March 2, 2012 while he was cleaning his car outside his house on Democracia St., Jaro district.
“I have identified the mastermind,” quipped Gabio, who requested not to name him here. “I told the Lord ikaw na bahala sa iya (Lord, please take care of him).”
At least three of the “John Does” in the frustrated murder charges he filed against suspects Jenel Chiva, Rodel Almoete and Oliver Panes are already dead, Gabio said. He identified one of them as “a notorious cop who was recently killed by his own cohorts in Negros.”
Gabio lamented that some of his friends abandoned him when he was in the hospital, especially when he pursued his tormentors in court. He said Calinog Mayor Alex Centena also tried to rescue one of the accused.
“Pati si Rommel Ynion nadula na. Ako nag bira bira depensa sa iya sadtong nag padalagan sia meyor tapos sang natirohan na ‘ko wala na sia kitaa (Rommel Ynion was nowhere to be found. I worked hard to defend him when he ran for mayor, but when I was shot, nothing has been heard of him),” he narrated.
The attack on Gabio occurred seven months after his other co-host on a political blocktime program in Iloilo City, Niel “Lito” Jimena, was shot dead on August 22, 2011 in E.B. Magalona town in Negros Occidental.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists ranked the Philippines as the second-deadliest country for journalists next to Iraq at the time Gabio was attacked.
It was my first meeting with Gabio, a fellow city hall beat reporter in the 90’s, since 2008. We last met at a coffee shop in front of a mall in Delgado-Valeria Streets, where he showed to me his “brand-new” .45 caliber pistol “given to me as a gift by my (sailor) son.”
“I know you were not around when I was shot,” said Gabio, who now wears a bullet-proof vest in public. “How did you know what happened to me when you were in the States?”
“I monitored the news on the internet,” I told Gabio, a former anchorman at RMN Radyo Agong in the late 80s. “The Lord still wants you to live. You must celebrate your second life.”