For the sake of the family of murdered businessman Antonio Ouano, witnesses should surface and tell the police what they saw on the road where he was ambushed last July 22 and what they know of his killers.
Clues in the investigation are fading thin.
As of last Friday, the Mandaue City police were still fishing for suspects.
That’s what you call the strategy of random arrests of suspicious characters in the hope that one of them squeals and points to the scoundrel who was paid to kill Ouano.
For now, police are focusing on suspected gun-for-hire groups. A handful of such arrests have been made on the basis of the suspects’ ties to mercenaries.
One trail the police is following is the use of ballistics tests to compare confiscated guns and ammunition of those arrested with the empty shells found at the scene of the crime. This is a long shot, but given the lack of other evidence, luck and persistence may be all investigators have to crack the case.
The biggest setback is that police lack firm witnesses who could say suspect A or B was the shooter.
The closest witness, Ouano’s secretary who survived the rainy afternoon ambush, said it happened so quickly she didn’t get a good luck at the shooter who was riding in tandem with a cohort on a motorbike.
There’s a trisikad driver who says he just got a glimpse in the heavy rain.
A third witness, who described a suspicious-looking man lurking around the Hall of Justice where Ouano had been attending a hearing before driving off to his death, is also a weak bet.
The immense wealth and complicated family property disputes in the Ouano clan, one of Mandaue City’s oldest and richest, provides various possible motives for eliminating the chairman of the board of their dominant company.
There are business rivals and countless other transactions to consider. But what is needed is the combination of motive and means, along with solid evidence to solve this mystery.
The police know that they are dealing with an influential family known for fiercely guarding their privacy.
Do the police have the resources, skill and stamina for this case? It depends a lot on the surfacing of a useful witness to tie the facts together. Even if the shooter is found, the hired gun may not necessarily lead to the mastermind.
If witnesses stay silent about what they know or saw, the case will remain a matter of justice unserved. It also remains an unsolved murder that took place during the launch of Mandaue Business Month.
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