Latest Stories

NGO backs child witness in murder rap vs Espino


“Listen to the child speak, and you will know that he is telling the truth.”

Akap Bata, a nongoverment organization advocating for children’s rights and welfare, gave this piece of advice to the family of Infanta, Pangasinan Mayor Ruperto Martinez, who was shot dead in front of his residence on Dec. 15, 2012.

Gloria dela Cruz, Akap Bata spokesperson, said the group is willing to arrange a meeting between the family of the late mayor and a witness who claimed that the mayor’s murder was masterminded by Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr., Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste and newspaper publisher Jaime Aquino.

“If the family of Mayor Martinez so wishes, we can ask the foster parent of the witness to allow the boy to talk to them so that they will know how the murder of Mayor Martinez was planned and carried out,” Dela Cruz said in a statement.

The witness, a 16-year-old son of Aquino, told investigators of the National Bureau of Investigation that he was present when Espino, Celeste and his father Jaime discussed the plan to kill Mayor Martinez during a meeting at El Pescador Beach in Bolinao, Pangasinan.

The boy said Espino and Celeste ordered the killing of Martinez after the mayor learned that the pier in Infanta was being used to smuggle precious minerals out of Pangasinan.

Based on the witness’ testimony, the NBI filed murder charges against Espino, Celeste and Aquino at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

On Tuesday, however, Martinez’s wife, Crisanta, filed a sworn statement at the DOJ clearing Espino and Celeste of allegations that the two plotted her husband’s killing.

Espino also filed a counter-affidavit denying any participation in the murder, calling Martinez a “personal friend” and political ally.

Dela Cruz said Akap Bata understands why it is difficult for Martinez’s family to accept the witness’s allegations.

“The Martinez family considers Governor Espino and Representative Celeste as close friends of the late mayor. It is really difficult to accept the possibility that a friend and party mate was the one who had Mayor Martinez killed,” she said.

According to Dela Cruz, if only the Martinez family would talk to the boy witness, they would know the real story of why the mayor was ordered killed.

“We believe the witness. He is a very bright boy and a very credible witness, according to NBI investigators,” she added.

Dela Cruz also said her group is not the same as the Akap Bata party-list group, which is seeking a seat in the House of Representatives.

Akap Bata is instrumental in taking Aquino’s teenage son to the Department of Social Welfare and Development for custody.

The teenage witness sought refuge at Akap Bata to allegedly escape his abusive father. It was during the interview with social workers that the boy narrated what he learned about the Martinez murder.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Akap Bata , child abuse , Crime , News , Regions

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  2. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  3. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  4. Sandigan junks Marcos family claim to Paoay property
  5. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  6. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  7. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  8. Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  9. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  10. Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury
  • Luisita farmers storm DAR compound
  • Trillanes, Ejercito confident they are not in Napoles’ list
  • Easterlies to prevail in Luzon, Visayas
  • Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour
  • Marketplace