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Filipino actor posing as runaway gunman shot dead by watchman

posted 1 Nov 2010, 13:25 by Sam Mbale

The family of an actor mistakenly shot dead by a community watchman while posing as a gunman for a British movie scene are pursuing murder charges.

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (OCTOBER 30, 2010) ABS-CBN - A Filipino actor was mistakenly shot dead by a night watchman in the central Philippine city of Cebu while filming a scene for a British movie on Saturday (October 30).

Night watchman Eddie Cuizon took actor Kirk Abella for a real gunman as he rode masked on a motorbike and carrying armed with a plastic gun.

Abella died later in the evening after having been taken to hospital.

The dead actor had been filming one of the last takes of an armed robbery scene for a movie by British filmmaker Alan Lyddiard, who has filmed several of his projects in the Philippines.

Local television reports described how Cuizon noticed Abella and thought he was a gunman speeding away on a dark road in the city's Pari-an area.

He fired his gun at the fleeting figure in a bid to defend the community he was employed to protect.

Local police had accompanied the film crew during the evening but were not in the exact vicinity where the shooting took place.

Pepito Pelostratos, Senior Inspector with the Philippine National Police, countered criticism of the police's absence during the filming of the movie sequence during which Cuizon shot Abella.

"We have uniformed personnel led by an officer and a marked vehicle with blinkers on," Pelostratos told reporters.

Cuizon was arrested within hours of the shooting on grounds of breaching the country's gun laws.

Watchmen in the Philippines are usually trained to defend themselves or others with batons and are rarely allowed possession of guns.

Local television network ABS-CBN showed footage of Cuizon being led into the back of a police van. Footage also showed him hiding his face from cameras as he sat in a Cebu jail cell.

He told reporters the shooting was an accident.

Sitting next to Abella's coffin in a funeral parlour on Sunday (October 31), members of the the dead man's family told reporters that they will push for a murder trial and will not settle outside of court.

"We're pursuing a case, not settling, because a life was taken," said one relative.

The Philippines has one of the highest numbers of gun-related deaths per capita in Asia and the country has come under fire for having some of the most lax gun laws in the region.

Millions of guns are in circulation within the country of over 90 million, and are increasingly viewed as symbols of authority and power.

Signs are regularly displayed outside shopping malls throughout the Philippines asking individuals to hand over their weapons to security staff before entering the premises.

Lyddiard's latest film, entitled 'Going Somewhere', is set in the Philippines and follows a British man's journey into the underworld life of Cebu.