Suspect in slay of Cagayan forester charged with murder

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MANILA, Philippines—The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Aparri and the Cagayan police filed Tuesday murder charges against the alleged gunman who fatally shot a Department of Environment and Natural Resources officer in Sanchez Mira, Cagayan, two weeks ago, CIDG chief, Police Director Samuel Pagdilao Jr. said.

Pagdilao Jr. identified the suspect, who remains at large, as Adorable Caligan, aka Boyet, a resident of Pata West, Claveria, Cagayan.

A murder case has been filed against Caligan at the Cagayan Provincial Prosecutor’s Office for the killing of Forest Specialist 2 Melania Dirain, 46, of the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) in Sanchez Mira on February 7, he said.

He said that the case was filed by joint CIDG-Cagayan police based on the complaint filed by Dirain’s sister Antonette Balanay.

Cagayan Valley CIDG chief Flaviano Baltazar said that investigation revealed that Dirain was talking to another DENR official in Cagayan inside her office in Cenro building at Sanchez Mira when an unidentified man wearing black pants and jacket suddenly entered the office and shot the victim in the presence of an unidentified witness around 7:45 p.m. on February 7.

The witness said that the suspect scuttled out of the office when he tried to stop him, but returned in a short while only to fire more shots at Dirain.

Two female employees of Golden Ocean Videoke Bar in Barangay (village) Callungan, Sanchez Mira, also positively identified Caligan as the gunman when a CCTV-recorded video was shown to them, Baltazar said.

Since the suspect was a regular customer of the videoke bar, the witnesses said that they were “fully convinced” that it was Caligan who shot Dirain as shown in the CCTV footage.

He said that witnesses also claimed that Caligan wentto the videoke bar several times wearing the same dark green jacket he was wearing when he shot Dirain.

Baltazar said that based on the accounts of witnesses, it appeared that the motive behind the killing is related to the job of the victim, who was the lead investigator in several cases involving illegal logging in the province

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