Guevarra creates 3-man panel to probe Calbayog mayor slay
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra has created a three-member panel of state prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to handle all cases in connection with the March 8 killing of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino.
In a department order, Guevarra assigned Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rodan Parrocha, Assistant State Prosecutor Benny Nicdao and Prosecution Attorney Rafael Cruz to lead the preliminary investigation on the criminal case filed in the DOJ against the nine policemen who were accused of carrying out an ambush that killed the mayor and three others.
The justice secretary directed Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento and the regional state prosecutors to turn over to the panel all records and documents of cases involving the incident.
“The panel shall likewise handle all cases between/among the same parties, which are related/connected with … any of the criminal complaints, including any and all countercharges,” read Guevarra’s June 21 order, a copy of which was obtained by the media on Monday.
On June 10, the National Bureau of Investigation brought a complaint for murder and frustrated murder against Police Lt. Col. Harry Sucayre, Police Maj. Shyrile Tan, Police Lt. Julio Armeza Jr., Police Capt. Dino Goles, Police Staff Sergeants Neil Cebu and Edsel Omega, and Patrolmen Nino Salem, Julius Armesa and Randy Merelos.
The case was filed a day after Police Master Sgt. Jose Jay Senario revealed during a Senate hearing that he had fabricated official reports linking the slain mayor to the illegal drug trade in Calbayog.
Antonio Pagatpat, the NBI deputy director for regional services, said the testimonies of eyewitnesses supported the digital and forensic evidence gathered by NBI investigators, who dismissed the policemen’s claim that the incident was a “shootout.”
“It was an ambush,” Pagatpat said. INQ
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