2 cops face murder, theft raps for slay of Iloilo trader, drug personality
ILOILO CITY –– Two policemen were among those linked to the killing of an Iloilo businessman and a suspected drug personality in Iloilo in January.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) central office said it filed on May 29 murder and theft complaints against Corporals Jerry Villanueva and Joseph Andrew Joven and two unidentified suspects in the killing of Delfin Britanico.
The NBI said in its statement that the two policemen, along with two other suspects, shot Britanico, and took his mobile phone near his house on January 19, minutes after they shot Allen Muller.
Britanico, a son of former Iloilo assemblyman and Banat Partylist representative Salvador Britanico, was riding a motorcycle in Barangay Nabitasan in Lapaz District.
Muller, a drug surrenderer, was gunned down near his house in Barangay Cuartero in Jaro District.
The NBI traced the gray Mitsubishi Adventure vehicle used by the gunmen in the two shootings to a car rental company.
The owner of the company executed an affidavit stating that Joven had rented the vehicle for two days and had admitted that they were responsible for the killing of the two victims.
Joven allegedly told the owner of the car rental company that he drove the vehicle in the shootings and that they shot Britanico in a confrontation while the gunmen were stripping stickers from the getaway vehicle.
The NBI said in its statement that the gunmen may have shot Britanico and took his mobile phone on the assumption that the victim reported their activities to authorities and took photos and videos of them.
The Britanicos had sought the NBI investigation on the killings.
Lt. Col. Gilbert Gorero, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police in Western Visayas, said Villanueva has been placed on restricted custody and confined to the regional police headquarters at Camp Martin Delgado in Iloilo City.
“If a warrant of arrest is issued by a court, we will turn him over to the court,” Gorero told the INQUIRER.
He said they could not locate Joven, who has been declared absent without official leave, after failing to report for duty since March.
Joven is facing administrative charges of less grave neglect of duty for failing to undergo a mandatory drug test and grave neglect of duty for failure to report for duty.
“We have been coordinating and cooperating with the NBI,” Gorero said.
In July last year, a policeman in Iloilo City linked to illegal drugs survived an assassination attempt allegedly by another policeman.
Patrolman Dorben Acap, who has repeatedly denied allegations of being involved in illegal drugs, identified Corporal Melvin Mocorro as the alleged gunman after he was able to fire back and hit the assailant.
Mocorro was on leave and assigned at the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police office during the shooting. He was arrested at a hospital, where he was treated for gunshot wounds, but later posted bail.
A frustrated murder complaint was filed against him at the Iloilo City Prosecutor’s Office but it is unclear if the case prospered.
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