Ex-cop arrested in slay try on businesswoman Decena


SUSPECTS Henry Quiñonez, described by investigators as a former policeman under the PNP Special Action Force (left) and Edgar Binalla are arrested Thursday night for allegedly staging the Aug. 14 ambush targeting businesswoman Cristina Decena (right photo), who survived the attack together with her son and housemaid. PHOTOS BY RICHARD A. REYES

When arrested, they were spending the night in a government-run hostel and had yet to change their clothes after failing in their alleged mission.

The Manila Police District on Friday presented the two suspected gunmen in the Aug. 14 attack on businesswoman Cristina Decena,  including a former member of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force.

The National Bureau of Investigation, whose help Decena sought following Wednesday’s ambush in Quezon City, said it had identified the mastermind behind the attack and that a manhunt was underway.

Henry Quiñonez, a former member of the PNP-SAF with the rank of Police Officer 1, and alleged cohort Edgar Binalla were arrested Thursday night in a hostel for transients run in Manila by the Metro Manila Development Authority, the MPD said.

The suspects were initially booked for illegal possession of firearms before Binalla was identified by Decena’s son Danilo as one of the men on a motorbike who tailed them and shot at their Starex van.

The Decenas and their maid Helen Felesco were in the van then passing through Banawe Street near the corner of Simoun Street in Sta. Mesa Heights when ambushed around 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Cristina and Danilo, the driver, were unhurt but Felesco sustained wounds from shattered glass and bullet fragments.

Danilo managed to hit the gunmen’s motorbike, knocking them off their ride. With the bike damaged, they seized a tricycle as their getaway vehicle.

“We will work on the leads provided by the victims, including the supposed mastermind,” said NBI head agent Rommel Vallejo of the bureau’s Anti-Organized Crime Division.

“I know who wants me dead, I want them to rot in jail,” said Decena, who runs several companies dealing in real estate, money lending and high-end fashion items. She earlier owned a rural bank and a school.

She was romantically linked to actor Philip Salvador in 2000 but ended up suing the actor for estafa. In 2010, she married comedian Ariel Villasanta in Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand and Macau, but the couple parted ways last year.

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