Police eye business or financial angle in Parañaque restaurant shooting


6:51 pm | Tuesday, May 21st, 2013



MANILA—It was business as usual at the BF Homes Commercial Center in Parañaque on Tuesday, belying a brazen murder that took place at a restaurant there on Monday.

Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary on Tuesday morning. There were no police lines and traffic appeared normal. At Pancake House itself, two families were spotted having a meal at 10 a.m. Tuesday as if nothing had happened.

Real estate broker Josephine B. Sarmiento, 52, a resident of Pilar Banzon Street in the subdivision, was shot dead by an unidentified gunman, while she was having a snack with a friend at the Pancake House branch in BF Homes at around 3:30 p.m. on Monday.

The police have ruled out robbery in the murder, as none of the victim’s belongings were taken, Parañaque chief of police Senior Superintendent Andrei Felix said.

Homicide chief Inspector Bernardo Mendoza said the killing could have something to do with Sarmiento’s business or financial dealings.

What is apparent is that Sarmiento’s killing was targeted, done at close-range. The gunman  and an unidentified accomplice had even sat at the table next to the victim’s.

Mendoza, citing eyewitness accounts, said the gunman had gone to the counter to order juice, while the “backup” man remained seated at the table near the victim. When the gunman came back to the table, he took out the gun and shot Sarmiento twice on the head.

The assailants “casually walked out” and rode away on a motorcycle, Mendoza said.

“There seems to be deep anger behind the killing,” Mendoza said. “When we interviewed her companion, she said she could not think of anyone who would want [Sarmiento] killed,” he added.

Sarmiento’s companion described the assailants as two dark-skinned men, around 25 to 27 years old, and dressed casually in shirt and jeans.

Mendoza said they would be checking security cameras in the area to see if any were able to capture the killers. A composite illustration of the gunman is expected to be released within the week. With a report from Alex Austria

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