Esperon ex-aide shot dead in Zamboanga
MANILA, Philippines – A former intelligence officer and Mindanao veteran was shot multiple times on Sunday night, June 19, in his home in Barangay Guiwan, Zamboanga City, by motorcycle-riding men. Army Lt Col Cristobal Julian Paulo “Tiny” Perez was declared dead on arrival at the Zamboanga Peninsula Hospital at 10:45 pm Sunday. He was 46.
The operations chief of former Armed Forces chief of staff, retired General Hermogenes Esperon Jr, Perez was assigned to G-1 (personnel unit) of the 1st infantry division of the Philippine Army based in Pagadian City. Prior to this, Perez also worked as an intelligence officer in the same division.
Esperon is the incoming National Security Adviser of the Duterte administration.
Well-liked and respected by civilians he has helped especially in Basilan and Zamboanga, Perez spent most of his military service in Mindanao, where he joined in operations against the Abu Sayyaf and other armed groups in the area. Tracing his roots to Basilan, Perez also served as battalion commander of the 18th infantry battalion based in the town of Ungkaya Pukan in the province in 2013-2015.
A 1993 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, Perez served as aide-de-camp of Esperon when Esperon headed the Office of the Presidential Assistant on the Peace Process (OPAPP) under the Arroyo administration.
During his stint in Basilan, Perez assisted various groups that reached out to the children left behind by victims of the Abu Sayyaf. “He and his group helped me search for the scholars based in Isabela City and Lamitan,” recalled one of his former co-workers at OPAPP, Zhielah Ritz Gatchalian. “He was very kind, always ready to help. He believed peace is possible in Basilan, where he grew up.”
Perez is the highest ranking active-duty military officer to be killed outside the combat zone in recent years. Military officers could not immediately say who the suspects are, noting that Perez had run after various armed groups in Basilan, Sulu and Zamboanga.
"Last time we talked, he said he will lie low," a Rappler source quoted an officer close to Perez as saying. – Rappler.com