3 suspects in foiled Lapu-Lapu ambush cleared

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Charges have been dropped against the suspects in the foiled ambush of two Korean nationals in Pacific Villa in barangay Pajac, Lapu-Lapu City.

The Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutors’ Office dismissed the frustrated murder case filed against Rodenio Espiritu, Felix Booc and Korean Kim Jae Hyung, the alleged mastermind in the attack

The three were tagged as suspects in the foiled ambush of Lee Dong Gun and Jong Ha Bok last Oct. 31.

The two suspects allegedly fired at their car as the vehicle left the main gate of their subdivision in Pacific Villa.

Police had said business conflict was the likely motive in the attack.

Espiritu and Booc faced the media yesterday along with their legal counsel Gonzalo Malig-on.

Malig-on said they received the copy of the prosecutors’ office decision clearing the two men last Nov. 24.

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE

In a resolution approved by prosecutor Evangeline Gicale, the case was dismissed for insufficient evidence.

Malig-on said they waited for a week to find out if Lee and Jong will file motion for reconsideration.

Since the Koreans did not make any move since the case was dismissed, his clients decided to file a criminal case for perjury and a claim for damages amounting to not less than P1 million each against Lee and Jong.

Booc and Espiritu said the case their families “emotionally, psychologically and financially.”

Booc said his two daughters in Bohol decided to stop going to school since they were ashamed that their father was implicated in the issue as the gunman in the foiled ambush.

Malig-on said the police should be more prudent and diligent in their work so “unfounded charges will not happen again against innocent individuals as we cannot bring back a reputation that is already destroyed.”

They also asked police to continue the investigation to identify the real culprit and determine the motive of the attack.

“We plan to file counter-charges against the complainants if only to vindicate our honor and teach a lesson that we have to be fair to everyone,” Espiritu said.

Espiritu said he thought that the footage of the shooting would help clear his name.

“Abi nako nakatabang nako, unya ako na nuon diay ang ilang giapil sa kaso,” Espiritu said. Police tagged Espiritu as the alleged lookout in the incident.

Espiritu admitted that he was the person seen in the footage but said he was only there to talk to someone regarding his coconut fruit juice business.

Espiritu said he thought he was the one being shot at when bursts of gunfire broke out.

Espiritu said he took his licensed .45 caliber pistol to defend himself. He said when he tried to cock the gun, it accidentally went off downward.

Booc claimed he was sleeping in his home in barangay Gun-ob when the incident occurred.

Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, chief of the Lapu-Lapu City police, said he was surprised with the decision clearing the suspects.

Lawas said he has yet to see a copy of the decision.

Lawas insisted the police handled the investigation well. He said they will just wait for the decision of the victims to find out what to do next.

The police official said they will welcome if Espiritu and Booc will offer to help in identifying the culprits.

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