By Vittorio Hernandez

Pampanga, Philippines

Two Filipinos are in critical condition following an apparent lovers' shooting incident. It was the second such incident to hit the largest mall operator in the Philippines within one week.

Mexico, Pampanga, Police Chief Superintendent Wilson Santos identified the two in the shooting incident at SM Pampanga as 13-year-old Jake Emerson Perez and his alleged lover, Jonathan Salvador, who police said was in his 20s.

Santos said Perez shot Salvador in the head with a .22-caliber pistol while they were seated inside the mall's Building 3 around 11:45 a.m. Perez then shot himself on the head. The two were rushed to separate hospitals in the province.

The police said the two appear to have had a relationship and hinted of a third party based on a suicide note found on Perez, which said he was willing to die with Salvador. The police said they would conduct a paraffin test on Perez to determine if he was the shooter.

Almost a week ago, a similar shooting incident happened in SM North Edsa in Quezon City involving an estranged couple. Sheila Macapugay shot her husband, Abel, who was an employee of the SM Appliance store and accidentally also shot dead a mall guard, Ricardo Inamac III, who tried to stop the woman from shooting herself.

The two separate incidents have led to calls for tighter security in the SM malls, which are popular hangouts for Filipino families. Perez and Macapugay apparently managed to slip their weapons inside the mall despite the mandated security check at the mall's different entrances.

SM Supermalls Vice President for Marketing Millie Dizon admitted the SM Pampanga mall guard failed to detect the gun because it was smaller than a person's palm and could not be detected by their metal detector. She assured shoppers that SM will further tighten its security measures.


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