Grandparents cry out: Get John-John’s killer

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THE BERROYA couple visit the tomb of their slain grandson in Bagbag Cemetery, Novaliches, Quezon City, with a campaign streamer demanding justice for John-John. KIMBERLY DELA CRUZ

“Better late than never.”

Angelito Berroya and wife Felicidad, both in their 60s and residents of Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City, were referring to the issuance of the warrant of arrest against City Hall parking attendant Robel “Buloy” Campanya for the Jan. 13, 2013, killing of John Ricci “John-John” Berroya, their 20-year-old grandson.

In the June 26 arrest order, Judge Germano Francisco Legaspi of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 77 noted that Campanya, 26, had been charged with murder and must face trial without bail.

The Berroyas, robbed of a beloved who had delighted them with his singing and guitar playing, learned about the warrant only last month.

On Aug. 13, seven months after their grandson’s death, “Lolo Lito” and “Lola Ising” launched the “Justice for John-John” campaign. “With God’s help,” they said, John-John’s killer would be brought to justice soon.

Angelito, 66, a former overseas worker based in Saudi Arabia, said “arresting and putting Campanya in jail seem to be formidable tasks for our law enforcers, but we strongly believe they are not impossible.”

“The wheels of justice, they say, turn slowly, but the release of the arrest warrant against John-John’s killer is proof that they’re grinding all right,” he said.

Felicidad, 61, said they still “have a strong faith in our justice system.”

“But nothing is settled until it is settled, right?” she stressed, adding that they would personally seek the help of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption and other support groups in pursuing the case against Campanya.

“We miss John-John terribly. We also miss his good singing voice and his guitar playing, his being a good and loving apo (grandson),” she added. The Berroyas have 22 grandchildren.

John Ricci, a high school dropout, lived with his grandparents for several years. His mother, Rosalie, died of cancer in 2008.

The Quezon City Police District said that around 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 13, John Ricci was having a conversation with a cousin and their friends in Palanas A, Barangay Vasra, when Campanya suddenly appeared, armed with a kitchen knife.

“For still unclear reasons and with deliberate intent to kill, Campanya repeatedly stabbed the unsuspecting victim in his chest and other parts of the body. The accused then hastily fled, bringing with him the weapon. The victim was brought by (two of several witnesses) to the nearby Veterans Memorial and Medical Center, but was declared dead on arrival,” according to a QCPD report.

An operation to arrest Campanya, known as a neighborhood toughie in Palanas, “proved futile,” it added.

Before the warrant came out, the victim’s father Manuel Berroya thought the case was going nowhere, prompting him to file a motion to resolve the case in the city prosecutor’s office. Manuel, an employee of the Commission on Audit, warned of the “possibility of (Campanya’s) flight.”

Sources at the Quezon City Hall complex, where the suspect worked as a parking attendant, said that after the killing, Campanya was seen at an Internet cafe in the Pag-Asa area and, on another occasion, with some family members at SM City North mall.

The suspect had also been travelling between Quezon City and Pagbilao, Quezon province, where his wife’s family lives, they said.

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