5 cops face murder raps for lawyer’s slay | Inquirer News

5 cops face murder raps for lawyer’s slay

By: - Senior Reporter / @inquirervisayas
/ 01:06 AM April 21, 2014

CEBU CITY, Philippines—The National Bureau of Investigation has filed multiple murder and frustrated murder charges against five policemen, including the chief, of the Highway Patrol Group in Central Visayas (HPG-7), for the ambush and slay of lawyer Noel Archival and his companions in Dalaguete town, Cebu province, on Feb. 18.

Named respondents in the complaint filed at the provincial prosecutor’s office on April 15 were Senior Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, HPG-7 director; Senior Supt. Joselito Lerion; Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara; SPO4 Edwin Galan, and PO1 Alex Bacani.

Separate charges for violating the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, and Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act, and for grave misconduct were filed in the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas.


The NBI said the respondents wanted to get back at Archival for filing a string of charges against them and other HPG-7 officers for allegedly extorting money from his clients after seizing their vehicles.


NBI Central Visayas supervising agent Jose Ermie Monsanto said Archival filed at least 15 cases against the HPG-7 officers on behalf of his clients.

Archival and HPG-7 members, led by Lerion, “almost came into blows” in October 2013 after the lawyer had an extortion attempt put in the blotter at the police station in Barangay (village) Mabolo, he added.

Days before he was killed, Archival told his friends and relatives that he had received death threats from the HPG-7 operatives due to the cases he filed against them.

Mara and Galan were impleaded in the case because they never “lifted a finger nor objected to stop the in-and-out of questionable vehicles” at the HPG-7 impounding area that was under their supervision, the complaint said.

Bacani was also included because he allegedly brought the gray Mitsubishi Strada, one of the vehicles believed to had been used in the ambush, to a car shop to be repaired or altered after the crime.

Bacani was seen bringing HPG-7 members to Dumanjug town for a courtesy call to Mayor Nelson Garcia hours after Archival was ambushed, which proved that the respondents were within the radius of 30 to 40 kilometers after the incident.


Lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, counsel of the respondents, said he would ask all the prosecutors in the province to inhibit themselves from handling the case, since they might have already prejudged his clients in the wake of the media coverage on the killing.

He added that he wanted the Department of Justice in Manila to conduct the preliminary investigation on his clients.

Archival, along with his companions Candido Miñoza, Alejandro Jaime and Paolo Cortes, was ambushed in Dalaguete in the afternoon of Feb. 18 while heading to Cebu City.

Only Cortes, Archival’s on-call assistant, survived the attack.

Investigation showed that the perpetrators used two vehicles—a red Toyota Vios and a gray Mitsubishi Strada—in the ambush.

Cortes said in his affidavit that he noticed a red car take over Archival’s sport utility vehicle before reaching the Dalaguete Municipal Hall.

“We were tailing that red car for some time because the driver of that vehicle wouldn’t allow us to overtake. I even told Alejandro, our driver, never mind overtaking that car,” Cortes said.

Upon reaching Barangay Coro in Dalaguete, he said the red Toyota Vios suddenly blocked their way, prompting them to stop. He said a gray Mitsubushi Strada then came from behind their vehicle, drove alongside them and fired several shots at their vehicle.

Persons inside the red car also fired shots at them, he said.

The two vehicles were later traced to the impounding area of HPG-7 in Sudlon, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

The HPG-7 logbook showed that the red Toyota Vios was driven by Lerion out of the compound at 9:42 a.m. on Feb. 18 and returned at 3:38 p.m. the same day.

The same logbook showed that a gray Mitsubishi Strada left the HPG impounding area at 3:36 a.m. on Feb. 17. It was not mentioned who drove the vehicle.

The Strada, driven by Iglesia, was returned at 4:22 p.m on Feb. 18.

The pickup was brought to Road Motorshop in Mandaue City for repairs on Feb. 24.

A forensic examination conducted by the NBI on the red Toyota Vios showed presence of gunpowder nitrates residues on the front right window as well as the rear back window and the carpet.

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A cartridge shell casing found underneath the backseat also matched the empty shells found in the crime scene.

TAGS: Crime, News, Regions

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