Ex-colonel, 2 others convicted in vice mayor’s killing
ECHAGUE, ISABELA—The Isabela Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Friday sentenced a retired Army colonel, a former corporal and their civilian accomplice to 40 years in prison for the 2015 murder of Jones Vice Mayor Florante Raspado.
Former Col. Reynaldo Jacinto Tapia, Army Cpl. Michael Deocariza and Victor Fontilara were found guilty of killing Raspado inside the Jones town hall on June 19, 2015.
But Judge Bonifacio Ong of RTC Branch 24 here cleared the three in the fatal shooting of Anthony Agarin, a security aide of a town councilor, who chased after them following the attack on Raspado.
Tapia and Deocariza were arrested in Maddela town, Quirino province, while Fontilara was nabbed in a police operation in San Agustin town, Isabela.
Lawyer Vicente Lasam, counsel of the Raspado family, said the three men were also required to pay P2 million in moral damages and P1.3 million in actual damages.
Raspado’s wife, incumbent Vice Mayor Evelyn Raspado, said the conviction of the three men finally brought justice to her family.
The court decision came after Jones was listed as an election hotspot due to its history of violence in the last four polls.
Last year, Mayor Leticia Sebastian surrendered six high-powered guns, which were registered to her late brother, former Mayor Jesus Sebastian, who was killed by suspected New People’s Army rebels.
Police earlier caught Glenford Raspado, the vice mayor’s son, for possessing unlicensed guns and illegal drugs during a raid on his house.
In 2017, Noimi Guerrero, 55, municipal civil registrar and concurrent town administrator, was gunned down as he emerged from his boarding house. Guerrero was Sebastian’s nephew.—VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.
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