Tabloid columnist’s killer identified, charges readied – PCOO
MANILA, Philippines – The suspected killer of a tabloid columnist and his companion in Arayat, Pampanga has already been identified, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar said Thursday.
Charges of double murder are already being prepared and will be filed this week, he added.
Andanar, who co-chairs the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), said the gunman was identified as Armando Maglaya Velasco, who works for a local carnival operator in Barangay Cacutud in Arayat.
The gunman allegedly sent surrender feelers through his wife, the PCOO official said, citing a report from PTFoMS Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco.
Last Sunday, Jupiter Gonzales, 52, and Christopher Tiongson were shot dead inside their car after what appeared to be a heated altercation with the gunman.
A closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footage showed that Velasco attempting to grab the steering wheel from the already wounded driver in an attempt to commandeer the vehicle, the PCOO said.
The CCTV footage helped identify of the gunman, the PCOO added.
Egco said that the victims knew the suspect since the latter was seen casually entering the victim’s car.
“Our investigation showed that Gonzales knew his killer. In fact, the gunman first boarded the left backseat of the victim’s car and presumably spoke with the victims,” Egco said in a statement.
“A CCTV footage shows that the gunman stepped out of the vehicle after about four minutes and opened the driver’s side in an apparent attempt to commandeer the vehicle. However, Gonzales was still able to drive 50 meters away until he hit a flowerbox,” he added.
The PTFoMS took over the investigation of the Arayat killings a day after the twin murders, the PCOO said.
“This proves that this administration will stop at nothing to hold perpetrators of violence against media workers to account. They can run and hide but the long arm of the law will eventually catch up on them,” Andanar said. /gsg
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