QC prosecutor shot dead; cops tag 3 persons of interest
A Quezon City prosecutor who earlier worked with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre in his private law firm was shot dead on Commonwealth Avenue on Wednesday.
Assistant City Prosecutor Johanne Noel Mingoa, 46, was walking to his parked vehicle around 1:20 a.m. when a black car pulled up beside him in front of Cebu Lechon Sutokil restaurant in Barangay Old Balara, Quezon City.
A witness said a man in a black shirt alighted from the vehicle, followed Mingoa and then shot him in the back. When the victim fell to the ground, the gunman shot him several more times.
Crime scene operatives later recovered 14 cartridges from a .45-caliber pistol.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has formed a special investigation task group headed by its director, Chief Supt. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, to look into the killing.
The police also released a facial composite of the gunman, who was described as between 5’6” and 5’7” in height, of light build and around 30 years old.
Meeting with three men
Eleazar said they were trying to determine if the motive for the killing was related to Mingoa’s work as a prosecutor or a personal matter.
Information gathered by the police showed that Mingoa met with three men inside Superstar Club, about 40 meters from where he was shot.
According to Eleazar, the initial investigation revealed that Mingoa had invested around P3 million in a business venture without getting any returns. Probers are still trying to determine the nature of the business.
Mingoa’s wife informed the police that her husband had met with the three men to discuss a “business transaction” related to his investment.
Text messages in the victim’s cell phone showed an exchange with one of the men, in which Mingoa complained that the dollars he had received as part of the returns on his investment were fake.
Senior Insp. Elmer Monsalve, QCPD homicide division chief, said the police had already identified the three men who were now considered persons of interest in the case.
The three have yet to talk to the police.
Investigators are now looking for footage taken by closed circuit television cameras in the area that may help them solve the killing.
Meanwhile, Chief City Prosecutor Donald Lee expressed sadness over Mingoa’s death, saying he was willing to assist the police in the investigation.
‘It could happen to all of us’
Lee said the victim was a trial prosecutor for the QC Regional Trial Court.
“I don’t recall him handling any controversial or high-profile cases but it is possible that he was working on a few drug-related ones,” he told the Inquirer.
Mingoa once handled a drug case around three to four years ago, Lee recalled.
“If this is work-related, then the message is clear that prosecutors should be careful and cautious because what happened to Mingoa could happen to all of us,” he said.
“It should also deliver the message that we are just doing our job and it is nothing personal,” Lee added.
According to him, Mingoa was very active as a prosecutor. At the time of his death, he was applying to become a senior assistant city prosecutor.
On Tuesday, hours before he was shot, Mingoa was on duty and worked from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. to accommodate inquest referrals to his office. “He left the office around 11:15 p.m.,” Lee said.
Before becoming a government prosecutor in 2008, Mingoa was a practicing lawyer, serving for about a year in Aguirre’s private law firm as an associate.
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