Councilor killed by teenage rebels in Eastern Samar

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CEBU CITY—The three policemen tagged in the killing of a lawyer here and his two companions have been removed from service.

The Philippine National Police ordered the dismissal of Senior Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, Senior Insp. Joselito Lerion and PO1 Alex Bacani, all of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG).

The three had gone on absence without leave (Awol) shortly after charges were filed against them for the murder of lawyer Noel Archival in an ambush in February last year.

PNP Special Order No. 1796 was to take effect on Jan. 26, but confirmation came only on Friday.

It was signed by Director Jaime Morente of the PNP personnel and records management division.

Inocencio De La Cerna Jr., counsel of Lerion, declined to issue any statement, saying he has yet to receive a copy of the order.

Paolo Cortes, the lone survivor in the ambush, and his lawyer, Rameses Villagonzalo, asked the PNP to dismiss the three HPG policemen after they stopped reporting for work.

Villagonzalo said PNP rules set a penalty of dismissal for policemen who go on Awol for at least 10 days.

Iglesia, Lerion and Bacani are facing charges of frustrated and multiple murder after they were implicated in the killing of Archival and his three companions on Feb. 18, 2014.

Judge Maximo Perez, of the Regional Trial Court Branch 26 in Argao town, issued an arrest warrant for the three policemen on Dec. 11. The three remain at large though.

“They are now civilian fugitives. They could no longer use government resources as they continue to hide,” said Villagonzalo.

Archival, along with aides Candido Minoza, Alejandro Jaime and Paolo Cortes, were returning to Cebu City from Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, where they attended a court hearing, when they were attacked in Dalaguete town in southern Cebu province.

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