Witnesses in university exec’s slay afraid to testify – police
MANILA, Philippines—More than a month after the killing of an official of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, police say they are having a hard time to pin down the suspected mastermind supposedly because the witnesses have been silenced by fear.
One of the witnesses could even identify the suspected middleman, who was allegedly asked by the mastermind to seek out hired guns, but simply refuses to attest to the information he has, said the head of the Manila Police District’s homicide section, Chief Insp. Joey De Ocampo.
He said that more than five witnesses who could link the suspected mastermind to the October 12 killing of PUP vice president for administration Augustus Cezar, have refused to render sworn statements.
“They (witnesses) talk to us and tell us what they know about who hired the killers but when we ask them to execute an affidavit, they hold back and tell us that they still have to think about it. Some even hide from us,” De Ocampo told the Inquirer.
He pointed out that one of the witnesses could identify the middleman, considered the missing link between the mastermind and the hired guns, in the contract to kill Cezar. “The witness’ testimony is vital for us to hold the mastermind culpable for the killing.”
Asked why the witnesses have refused to identify the perpetrators in sworn statements, De Ocampo said, “They are probably afraid.”
“That is our predicament now at the task group,” he added, referring to Task Group August, which was organized to investigate the killing.
“It is easy to solve crimes if we go by the proper investigative procedure, which would include the cooperation of witnesses and other persons who may know something. But with nobody willing to testify, a case will remain unsolved. Talagang matutulog ang kaso,” De Ocampo told the Inquirer.
His statements appeared to be an admission that the police had no physical evidence to identify the perpetrators and were dependent solely on witnesses.
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