Suspect in slay of UNA head in Albay nabbedBy Mar S. Arguelles
Inquirer Southern Luzon
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines—Police arrested on Saturday the second suspect in the killing of Nelson Morales, provincial chair of the coalition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party in Albay, while five others were still being hunted, the police said on Monday.
Morales, the city engineer of Makati and brother of Malinao Vice Mayor Alice Morales, was gunned down on Friday while attending a wedding ceremony at a chapel in Barangay Estancia, Malinao, Albay.
The slain Morales was bruited to be a likely mayoral candidate for Malinao town in next year’s election under UNA, a party coalition of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada.
Police arrested Roderick Saysay Sarahan, 37, at his residence in Barangay Molosbulos, Libon, Albay, while about to drive a motorcycle with no plate and with an expired driver’s license, said Supt. Paulino Belga, deputy provincial director for administration of the Albay police.
Charges of murder, frustrated murder and frustrated homicide would be filed against Sarahan, and five other suspects identified by witnesses in a police rogue photo gallery, said Belga in a phone interview.
Belga said the first suspect, Christian Saysay, 22, was found dead on Friday at Josefina Belmonte Memorial District Hospital in Ligao City by police, hours after Morales was shot dead in the morning of the same day. He had a bullet wound in his abdomen, believed to have been fired by the security aide of Morales, Raul Capitan, a retired Army soldier, who was also wounded in the attack.
Belga said the other suspects that were seen at the scene of the crime were brothers Gilbert and Ramson Concepcion, both former Army soldiers assigned in Sorsogon who were dishonorably discharged from the service due to alleged involvement in criminal activities; a Wilfredo Sasota; and two others known only as Peter and Alan.
Witnesses positively identified Christian Saysay as one of the gunmen, said Belga.
Belga said they were looking into business rivalry and politics as the possible motives of the killing.
Vice Mayor Morales, at a press conference on Saturday, said the family was leaving her brother’s murder case for police authorities to solve.
Town Councilor Erwin Pajot, however, was quoted in the press conference as saying that he believed the killing was politically motivated even as he declined to elaborate.