Relatives seek ‘true justice’ after probers tag 4 cops in lawyer’s slay
SAN PEDRO CITY—A sister of slain lawyer Adilberto Golla Jr. on Thursday said the family was keeping its confidence in the judicial process to put behind bars “the real perpetrators” in his murder and that of a police asset in Rizal province.
This was after the police in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon) this week charged with murder four law enforcers, including a ranking official, in the killing of Golla on May 17 and Conrado Esteban on June 4.
Calabarzon police chief, Brig. Gen. Edward Carranza, said the two incidents were “connected.” Golla was allegedly ordered killed by the ranking police official in Rodriguez town while Esteban, a police “striker,” was the “fall guy” in the murder.
A striker is a civilian who does chores around the police station or at times also serves as a police asset.
Esteban was found dead with an M16 rifle along C6 Road in San Mateo town in Rizal. The weapon, after a cross-matching, turned out to be the same one used to kill Golla.
Police filed murder charges in the Department of Justice against Lt. Col. Melchor Agusin, former Rodriguez police chief, Police Senior Master Sergeant Michael Eralino, Police Staff Sergeant Alberto Umali and Pat. Benito Julian Jr.
“All we want is to attain justice that [Golla] truly deserved. We trust that there are still more good-hearted individuals in the government who will choose to do what’s right,” Golla’s sister, Joy, said on Thursday.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit on July 6 arrested Eralino and Umali in Taytay and Rodriguez, respectively, for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
Aside from the firearms, also recovered from Eralino were ski masks and jackets allegedly worn by the gunmen, who shot and killed Golla, a litigation lawyer, outside his subdivision at Eastwood Greenview.
Eralino later executed an extra-judicial confession saying that they only acted on orders of Agusin.
“As to the motive or why [Agusin would have wanted Golla dead], it remains unclear. Eralino claimed they were just following orders,” said regional police spokesperson, Lt. Col. Chitadel Gaoiran.
“Still, it was an illegal order,” she said.
Golla reportedly handled cases involving land disputes in Rizal and was known to help distressed farmers.
Agusin, who had been reassigned to the personnel holding and accounting unit at Camp Crame, refused to give a comment when sought by phone on Tuesday.
A police source said Eralino claimed that “they were made to believe that Golla was [an illegal] personality [who] had be to be ‘operated.’”
Umali had posted bail since only bullets were recovered from him during a police raid on July 6. Julian remained at large.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.