Mayor’s brother charged over Laguna exec’s slayBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—The police have pressed criminal charges against Edwin Amante, the younger brother of San Pablo City Mayor Vicente Amante, for the murder of Laguna provincial board member Reynaldo Paras and his bodyguard-driver early this month.
Laguna police director Senior Supt. Gilbert Cruz on Thursday said two counts of murder were filed on Wednesday before the Department of Justice in Manila against Edwin Amante and four others, among them were the slain suspect Eugene Bacoto and a certain Ricky Valdez.
The two other suspects were identified only by their aliases, “El” and “Budoy,” he said.
The case was filed on Wednesday noon by members of the San Pablo City police and the Laguna Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG).
Paras and his driver-bodyguard, Geovanni Dumaraos, were gunned down on June 6 near the board member’s home in Barangay 7C in San Pablo City.
The victims had reportedly shot back at the suspects, hitting gunman Bacoto who died later in the hospital.
Cruz declined to discuss the evidence they had submitted to the DOJ, but police sources from San Pablo and the CIDG said the charges stemmed from the blotter report Paras had filed with the police hours before the ambush.
In that blotter report, Paras had said he feared for his life because he had received information that Edwin Amante had hired hitmen from Cavite.
Paras claimed the younger Amante suspected him of informing the police of Amante’s alleged illegal drug operation and wanted him killed.
Cruz said they had also submitted to the DOJ the signed dying declaration made by Paras where he named another supposed mastermind to his ambush.
Edwin Amante was nowhere to be found since the incident and was presumed to be in hiding.
The Inquirer tried to get a comment from Mayor Amante but a staff member at the mayor’s office said he was unavailable for an interview.
The mayor’s son and municipal administrator Loreto Amante, on the other hand, was undergoing a medical checkup but in a text message sent by his staff member, said he would first verify the charges filed at the DOJ before giving any comment.
Both Vicente and Loreto, in separate earlier interviews, said they would not protect Edwin should authorities find evidence against him.
The mayor also said he did not know of his brother’s whereabouts, claiming he had not spoken to or seen him in over a year.
Loreto, on the other hand, had said that his uncle has not gone into hiding and would be willing to testify in court.