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CALL FOR JUSTICE

Quezon mayor’s son, pal murdered, says NBI

MOURNING Friends and neighbors offer their sympathy to the family of Sariaya, Quezon Mayor Marcelo Gayeta, whose son, Christian, was slain by policemen. —DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.

SARIAYA, Quezon — Mayor Marcelo Gayeta has appealed to President Duterte to help his family obtain justice for his son, who was killed by policemen in a supposed shootout in Tayabas City last week.

“If the police can do this dastardly crime to the son of a government official, what more to a helpless citizen?” Gayeta told the Inquirer on Tuesday.

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Christian Gayeta, 21, and Christopher Manalo, an embalmer at the Gayeta family’s funeral parlor, did not die in a gunfight but were murdered by policemen on March 14, the National Bureau of Investigation said.

‘Plain murder’

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“We already have the testimonies of four policemen involved. It was not an encounter but plain murder carried out by policemen themselves,” Dominador Villanueva, agent in charge of the NBI Lucena district office, told the Inquirer on Tuesday.

Mayor Gayeta sought the NBI’s help in conducting a separate investigation of the killing of Christian and Manalo.

“There was no shootout. The victims were already in the custody of the police after they were accosted in a police checkpoint in Tayabas shortly before midnight Wednesday (March 13),” he said, citing information from the four policemen.

Gun ban

Villanueva said the victims were arrested after they were found carrying two pistols, which violated the election gun ban.

On Monday, Senior Supt. Osmundo de Guzman, Quezon police director, relieved Supt. Mark Joseph Laygo, Tayabas police chief, PO3 Christopher John Siman, PO1 Perry Malabaguio and PO1 William Allan Ricamonte to allow an impartial investigation into the case.

The next day, however, De Guzman himself was also relieved and replaced by Senior Supt. Robert Arguelles.

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Police are trying to locate Laygo, who failed to report to the provincial headquarters after his relief. The Inquirer tried but failed to reach him through his mobile phone on Tuesday.

“My men are searching for him to bring him back to the headquarters and place him under strict custody pending results of the investigation,” Arguelles said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

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TAGS: Christian Gayeta, Christopher Manalo, Marcelo Gayeta, slain mayor's son
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