By PNA and U.S. News Agency / Asian
A ranking Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official and a former Licab town vice mayor were charged of murder and frustrated murder by the police’s intelligence group (IG) in connection with the daytime ambush of Carranglan Mayor Restituto Abad last February 4.
Charged in a complaint filed by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and the Camp Crame-based IG before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila were Rafael Otic, DENR officer for Nueva Ecija and businessman Teodoro Ilagan, former vice mayor of Licab town.
The PAOCC, led by its executive director, Chief Supt. Reginald Villasanta and Senior Inspector Jesus Dabu, chief of the investigation and legal affairs section of the National Capital Region-IG, filed the complaint together with Abad’s widow Mary and the late mayor’s supporters and relatives.
Mrs. Abad expressed hope justice will prevail in the case of her slain husband, adding one of the masterminds is a highly influential person in the province, apparently referring to Otic.
“I hope justice is served and the perpetrators are held in court,” she said. She expressed satisfaction over the results of the parallel investigation conducted by the IG apart from the one earlier made by the Special Investigation Task Group of the Nueva Ecija police.
The two were tagged for the killing of Abad and the wounding of his driver-bodyguard Army soldier Saldy Duclayan in an ambush along the provincial road in Barangay Saranay, Guimba town in the afternoon of February 4.
Abad, 54, died five days later while undergoing treatment at the St. Luke’s Medical Center. Duclayan survived.
Chief Supt. Charles Calima, IG director, said Gov. Aurelio Umali put up a P1-million reward for any information leading to the arrest of Abad’s killers. This is on top of the P100,000 put up by Abad’s relatives.
Lawmen arrested one of the suspects, Jose Bernalin Pascual of Barangay Pagas, Cabanatuan, driver of the motorcycle ridden by the gunman Jonathan Carpio, who shot Abad and Duclayan.
Judge Serafin Cruz of the Regional Trial Court Branch 86 based in this city issued a warrant for the arrest of Carpio, who is also facing 12 counts of electric pilferage filed in 2007 and 2008 by the Cabanatuan Electric Corp.
Carpio, 32, who carries the alias Atan was arrested by IG operatives under the supervision of deputy director for operations Senior Supt. Allen Bantolo in Barangay Gulod, Novaliches, Quezon City last April 28 while allegedly casing his next target.
Carpio yielded a caliber .45 Armscor pistol used in killing Abad. He admitted to the crime and pointed to Ilagan as the one who hired him to assassinate Abad.
He said it was Otic and Ilagan who gave him P300,000 as payment for killing Abad, some six days after the incident. The money was handed to him at the Gateway Mall in Cubao, Quezon City.
Ilagan surrendered to IG and Regional Mobile Group operatives but not after engaging them in a shootout in his house in Barangay San Cristobal, Licab last June 21 which led to the death of his security escort Lorenzo Bote, a retired police sergeant.
Ilagan reportedly yielded two caliber 45, a black 40 pistol and a hand grenade.