|Jaime Aquino being interviewed by the press after he criminally charged |
in 1987 then Archbishop Oscar Cruz of sexual molestation when
he was the sacristan (acolyte) of the latter.
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
STA. BARBARA, Pangasinan - A publisher and media man with a checkered past has been treacherously shot at his back this morning and in a critical condition at the intensive care unit of a hospital in Dagupan City.
According to his lived-in partner Myleen Mendoza, 25, journalist Jaime Aquino, 45, was about to urinate near the waiting shed of Villa Sta. Barbara in Menien West here when one of the motorcycle riders who was tailing his red Mazda sedan pumped a single bullet of .45 caliber handgun at his left back.
She said they scampered away when Aquino rushed to the car to get his handgun.
“Tumagos ang bala sa likod niya at tinamaan ang itaas ng puso niya tapos lumabas sa tagiliran niya iyong bala (The trajectory of the bullet pierced his left back and passed the upper part of his heart then it ricocheted at the side of his upper torso),” she said.
After he was plucked out at Villaflor Hospital in Dagupan City by a passing police mobile patrol car of this town, Myleen, who was informed by the police through the mobile phone of Jaime, said he told her he saw two persons with a motorcycle in the vicinity of the waiting shed where one of them shot him.
In a text message sent by Senior Superintendent Marlou Chan, acting provincial director, to this blogger: “From Chief of Police Sta. Barbara: At 7:10 this morning one Mr. Jaime Aquino, a co-accused of Governor (Amado T.) Espino in the Mayor (Ruperto) Martinez murder case was shot at Barangay Menien West, Sta. Barbara by three suspects on board a motorcycle. He was shot while reading newspaper at the waiting shed when fired upon. Immediately victim runs towards his parked car ten meters away from where he was shot to get his firearm”.
At the height of the campaign period of the May 13, 2013 election, Jestin Aquino, Jaime’s second son with his legal wife, implicated his father, Pangasinan Governor Espino, and Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane as principals in the murder of Infanta Mayor Martinez.
In year 2005 Aquino hogged the headlines of the multi-media when he accused then Lingayen-Dagupan City Archbishop Oscar Cruz of sexually molesting him when he worked as the sacristan (acolyte) of the cleric in 1987.
He even copy furnished Pope Benedict XVI in Rome of his criminal complaint on Cruz.
He also charged the Archbishop of fathering a seven-year old boy and a five- year old girl.
The case however turned to naught when Jaime failed to identify Cruz in a line-up of bishops ordered by the hierarchy of the beleaguered Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines.
Aquino, the publisher of the hard hitting take-no-prisoner Tagalog newsweekly Northern Star, sometimes brags with fellow media men his 65 libel suits – a feat he said no members of the Fourth Estate can emulate in Pangasinan and in the Philippines.
It is a common knowledge among media men in Pangasinan about Jaime being used by some powerful politicians so he can destroy their opponents.
"Sa dami ng kaaway ni Jaime, hindi mo na alam kung sino ang papatay sa kanya," said by broadcaster Harold Barcelona years ago.
Aquino and Mylene lived in Mapandan, Pangasinan.
She appealed to media friends and friends in politics of Jaime to help bankroll their prohibited hospital bills. “Hinihingan ako ng P60, 000 kanina ng Villaflor as downpayment matapos siyang mabaril kaninang alas siyete, pero ang kaya lang ng pamilya namin ay P10, 000”.
She said the management of the hospital agreed for the P10,000 and readied the operating table at the Intensive Care Unit at 12:30 pm.