Police raid house of suspected masterminds in slay of prosecutorBy Marrah Erika Lesaba
Inquirer Southern Luzon
BATANGAS CITY, Philippines—Batangas police swooped down Friday on the house of a prominent couple in the town of Sta. Teresita who allegedly were the masterminds in Thursday’s killing of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Alexander Sandoval.
The search of the home of Hermogenes Mendoza and his wife Ana Marie in Barangay Calayaan yielded assorted firearms and ammunition, according to Senior Superintendent Rosauro Acio, Batangas provincial police director.
Hermogenese Mendoza is the chairman of Barangay Calayaan while his wife ran for mayor of Sta. Teresista in the midterm elections last May but lost.
The barangay head eluded arrest but his wife was taken in for questioning, Acio said.
Armed with a search warrant, operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the provincial intelligence branch, Regional Public Safety Battalion and the Provincial Public Safety Company raided the home of the Mendoza couple at 10:30 a.m.
According to Acio, the search resulted in the confiscation of three firearms–an M16 rifle, a 9-mm pistol and a .22 cal. pistol—and several rounds of ammunition.
The Mendozas were tagged as the alleged masterminds in the killing of Sandoval by Jason Espejo, one of two gunmen who was cornered by the police in Taal town hours after the ambush killing of the state prosecutor in San Luis town on Thursday.
Espejo, 26, from Laoag City, claimed he belonged to a gun-for-hire group that was allegedly contracted by the Mendoza couple to kill Sandoval, Acio said.
He said Espejo did not know the reason for the contract kill as “napag-utusan lang silang patayin iyong (they were only ordered to kill the) prosecutor.
According to Acio, investigators found that the white Toyota Corolla (TDD-852) that was seen tailing the motorcycle driven by the suspects is registered in the name of Ana Marie Mendoza.
Police also recovered the motorcycle used by the suspects two kilometers from the crime scene, Acio added.
Sandoval, 42, was shot dead by two men on board a motorcycle in Barangay Muzon in San Luis town at around 11 a.m. Thursday.