Cop tagged in 2018 slay of ex-La Union vice mayor pleads not guilty
MANILA, Philippines —The policeman who is one of the suspects in the 2018 killing of former Balaoan, La Union Vice Mayor Al-Fred Concepcion pleaded not guilty to murder charges during his arraignment on Wednesday, the provincial government of Balaoan said Thursday.
Dario Naval Cahigas, who was then senior police officer 1, is facing two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder over his supposed involvement in the vice mayor’s murder.
“Regional Trial Court Branch 34 acting Presiding Judge Asuncion Fikingas-Mandia administered the arraignment of the suspect at 8:30 a.m. in Balaoan, La Union.
Cahigas pleaded not guilty of all the charges filed against him,” read the statement, from the Office Baloan Mayor Aleli Concepcion. Aleli is the daughter of the slain vice mayor.
The provincial government also noted that Cahigas’ legal counsel was not present. Cahigas’ camp moved for resetting the case again but the Concepcion family opposed it and argued that it is “prohibited under the continuous trial rule.”
The regional trial court ordered that the suspect must be assisted by a representative from the Public Attorney’s Office.
The court then set the pre-trial for Cahigas’ case on November 27, 2020.
In November 2018, the convoy of the Balaoan mayor and her father were on their way to the municipal hall when a group of gunmen, onboard another vehicle, shot the victims.
The Balaoan mayor and several others were wounded while her father and his aide, Mike Ulep died on the spot.
Police said Cahigas, police assigned at the Regional Police Holding Assistance Service of Police Regional Office 1, voluntarily surrendered last August 18 this year during the issuance of arrest warrant by Balaoan Regional Trial Court Branch 34 Presiding Judge Marita Bernales Balloguing.
Eight months after the incident, the National Bureau of Investigation Ilocos regional office filed complaints of double murder and multiple counts of attempted murder against Cahigas, Police Senior Master Sergeant Arnald Calzado, and several still unidentified suspects in the incident. [ac]
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