Bad debt eyed in slay of Cebu City lawyer
CEBU CITY — A lawyer was shot dead and his wife seriously wounded on Monday by two men who went to their house purportedly to get his legal services.
Less than 24 hours later, police claimed that they had arrested one of two gunmen in the killing of lawyer Salvador “Buddy” Solima, 67, and wounding of his wife, Verose.
Ricarte del Corro was identified by Solima’s house helpers as the one who shot the couple inside their house at Singson Village in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City.
Police has yet to capture Del Corro’s supposed companion, but they had taken into custody Alberto Baluyos Jr., who reportedly served as lookout.
Both Del Corro and Baluyos denied having a hand in the attack.
Warlino Caballes, a staff of Solima’s family, said two men went to the victims’ house past 4 p.m. Monday and claimed they wanted to hire the lawyer.
Caballes went to Solima’s office on the second floor to ask the lawyer if he would see them. They were later asked to go up.
Five minutes later, shots rang out.
Solima slumped on the floor with bullet wounds in the head and chest. Verose tried to hide behind a refrigerator in the living room but she was also shot in the head before the gunmen fled on a motorcycle.
“When I looked around, I saw the two men come out of Solima’s room. When they saw Ma’am (Verose), the gunmen also fired at her,” Caballes said.
Investigators had zeroed in on the family’s suspicion that Baluyos may have a hand in the killing since Verose owed him money after she paid only P100,000 for a land that was sold to her for P7.5 million.
Weeks before the shooting, Baluyos brought Del Corro to Solima. Del Corro was also identified by Solima’s staff as one of the two gunmen who went inside the house on Monday.
“My conscience is clear. I’m not the one who killed him. I don’t even know the victim,” said Del Corro, who claimed he was in their house in Barangay Labangon in Cebu City at the time when Solima was killed.
Baluyos also denied killing Solima, who, he said, helped him get out of jail. Solima was Baluyos’ lawyer in a robbery with homicide case. Baluyos was detained in 2007 and was acquitted of the charge in 2016.
While he was in jail, Baluyos said he promised to give Solima a part of a land owned by their family although it didn’t materialize because the lawyer did not ask for it.
“When I was released from prison, I served him (Solima) for over a year. But I eventually moved out of the house because I’m afraid I might be accused of a wrongdoing,” he said.
Baluyos admitted that Solima’s wife had not fully paid the land she bought from his family in 2016 even if he had given her the title of the property.
“We would go to their house thrice a week, and she (Verose) would just give us P100 or P300. So far, she just gave us P100,000,” he said.
Baluyos said he was not angry at the couple. “If I do something bad to them, the more we won’t be able to claim the full amount,” he said.
Supt. Ryan Devaras, chief of the Investigation and Detective Management Branch of the Cebu City police, said there was a possibility that Solima was killed due to his family’s failure to pay the amount.
“For now, Del Corro is the primary suspect although Baluyos is a person of interest. The investigation continues nonetheless,” Devaras said.
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