Camarines Norte governor’s wife, aide seen at hotel
NAGA CITY, Philippines—The wife of Camarines Norte Gov. Edgardo A. Tallado and a woman companion, who have been reported missing for four days now, were seen at a hotel here on Friday night, according to police investigators.
Tallado said in an interview on Tuesday that he received the news from Task Force Josie, a composite police group investigating the disappearance of his wife, Josie, and her personal assistant, Darlene Francisco, on Monday night.
Josie, 43, left home in Labo town, Camarines Norte province, at 2 p.m. on Friday and drove her Toyota Fortuner to bring Francisco, 21, to her home in Barangay 3 in Vinzons town, 5 kilometers away.
The women were accompanied by PO1 Michael Lubiano, Josie’s aide, but was left to wait for them at 7 p.m. after unloading Francisco’s belongings in her house while they were having snacks. They did not return, however, and could not be contacted by cell phone, prompting Lubiano to contact the police.
Two hours later, the sport utility vehicle was found along the national road in Sitio Trespassing, Barangay Napolidan, in Lupi town, Camarines Sur province, by the municipal police, which coordinated with the provincial police. Police said someone could have tried to burn down the vehicle after they saw three spent matches and a throw pillow soaked in crude oil.
“I believe somebody or a group is manipulating my wife,” Tallado said. He insisted that Josie was not likely to leave their home and try to burn the vehicle on a deserted road, 40 km away, only to stage a drama and get public attention.
Though he believes the report that his wife and her assistant are alive and somewhere, he said he was still worried for their safety.
The governor said he was told that a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera captured the faces of his wife with another woman at Moraville Drive-In Hotel on Mabulo Drive in Barangay Mabulo, where they stayed late Friday night and checked out the next day.
Senior Supt. Moises Pagaduan, acting provincial police chief and head of Task Force Josie, confirmed the report but said the video footage had yet to be turned over to the police. When sought by the Inquirer, the hotel management refused to give any statement.
Pagaduan said investigators were still halfway through in solving the mystery of the missing women because “they still have to locate and actually confirm their physical existence.”
Seeking understanding and respect for the ordeal of his family, Tallado said that if the disappearance of his wife is related to his work as governor, he asked those behind it to spare his loved ones and get back at him instead.
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