22 suspects face murder, frustrated murder raps for Espino ambush
Updated @ 11:45 p.m., Oct. 2, 2019
SAN CARLOS CITY, Pangasinan, Philippines — A regional task force has filed two counts of murder and four counts of frustrated murder cases against 22 suspects in the ambush of former Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr. here on Sept. 11.
The cases were filed on Tuesday in the city prosecutor’s office based on “sufficient forensic examination and other pieces of evidence,” Police Brig. Gen. Joel Orduña, Ilocos regional police director, said at a press briefing here.
Tagged in the ambush were Albert Palisoc, alias Alvin Pascaran; Armando Frias, alias Jong; Benjie Resultan; Joey Ferrer; Ronnie de los Santos; Gerry Pascua, alias Kagawad Guapo; Sherwin Diaz; Teofilo Ferrer, alias Pong; a certain Russel, alias Sel; Jewel Castro; John Paul Regalado; Alfred Pascaran; and 10 unidentified suspects.
Espino and his security aides were on a two-car convoy when gunmen opened fire at them at 4 p.m. on Sept. 11. Espino was wounded and his escort, Police Master Sergeant Richard Esguerra, and driver, Agapito Cuizo, were killed.
Two other aides were wounded while the driver of his backup vehicle was unhurt.
Orduña, who heads the task force, said except for Castro and Regalado, the suspects are known members of a gun-for-hire syndicate.
Police said Castro and Regalado were the owners of two vehicles, a Ford Everest and a Hyundai Elantra, that were reportedly used by the suspects.
The Ford Everest was found abandoned at Barangay Pasima in nearby Malasiqui town while the Hyundai Elantra was recovered in Barangay Cobol here.
Found inside the two cars were two M14 rifles and a customized M16 rifle, a hand grenade and bullets, jackets and bonnets
According to investigators, Castro and Regalado failed to justify why their vehicles were used in the attack.
Palisoc, who has a warrant of arrest for another murder case, was one of the gunmen in the ambush, Orduña said.
The task force obtained evidence that included closed-circuit television footage in the areas and accounts of witnesses who identified them, he said.
Orduña said they had yet to consider it a closed case since investigators were still trying to identify the mastermind.
Earlier, Police Col. Redrico Maranan, Pangasinan police director, said Espino had requested for police security after getting death threats two weeks before the ambush.
Espino also served as representative of Pangasinan’s fifth district. He lost in his reelection bid in the May 13 midterm elections.
Police said they were looking into politics, business rivalry and personal grudge as the possible motives behind the attack.
Espino thanked the police for filing the case against the suspects. In a statement, he said it was a “miracle” to survive the “heavy gunfire from powerful firearms that kept pounding on us for almost one minute.”
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