By US News Agency / Asian
Police authorities reported on Tuesday they have solved the killing of Licab town Vice Mayor Luisito Caraang, with the identification of at least six suspects, including a town councilor as the mastermind.
Caraang was fatally shot by two armed men riding in tandem while he and a couple of friends were jogging along the road in Barangay San Casimiro at 5:10 a.m. in Oct. 9, 2010.
Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Director Sr. Supt. Roberto L. Aliggayu said murder charges were filed against Licab town councilor Alexander Ventura alias “Alex,” a barangay-mate of the victim in Barangay San Casimiro, together with five other suspects.
The other suspects were named as: Francisco Peralta alias “Supremo Ablak,” a resident of Sto. Rosario, Aliaga town; Arturo Bernardino y Garcia alias “Kumander,” 33, married, and Nestor Soriano Jr., both residents of Barangay San Jose, Licab, Nueva Ecija; Jeremy Itan and Virgilio Domingo alias “Beo Sarmiento,” both of Barangay Bertese, Quezon town.
The suspects are members of the disbanded “Alakdan Group” and “Red Vigilante Group” and now have formed recently the “Bravo for Justice Group.”
According to Police Community Relations Branch chief Supt. Lilian P. Castillo, the suspects are still at large while the preliminary investigation of the case against them is still being conducted by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.
Meanwhile, Gapan City Vice-Mayor Rodel Matias, president of the Vice-Mayor’s League of Nueva Ecija (VMLNE), together with the league’s secretary, Cabanatuan City Vice-Mayor Jolly Garcia, extended moral support to the cause of the Caraang.
The VMLNE lobbied before the Provincial Sanggunian headed by Vice-Governor Jose Gay Padiernos for the approval of a P1-million reward money “for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the persons responsible for the heinous crime.
An elite force of investigators under “Task Force Caraang,” headed by Supt. Manny Hidalgo, Deputy Provincial Director for Operations, composed of provincial police officer and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and the Aliaga town police, under Police Senior Inspector Danilo Eduardo, cracked the case exactly one month from the date of occurrence, the police said.
The breakthrough in the investigation came when one Sonny Pascua y Estabillo, of Barangay San Agustin, Victoria, Tarlac surfaced and narrated intimate details from the planning stage to the actual killing.
He is said to be a “neophyte” member, or being recruited to join the newly formed crime group.
The witness disclosed that a new newly formed group named “Bravo For Justice Group,” headed by Peralta as “Supremo Ablak,” was contracted by town councilor Ventura to kill Caraang.
An alleged sum of P500,000 was the contracted fee for the killing of the vice-mayor.
According to the police, motive for the killing was political in nature, saying that Ventura paid for the liquidation of Caraang “purposely to pave the way” for Ventura’s father (Rodolfo “Boy” Ventura) to win the position of barangay chairman.
Ventura had allegedly feared a win by another Caraang was a threat to his political career.
The vice-mayor, an independent candidate, had vigorously campaigned for his brother, who eventually won the village election.
It transpired that the father of Councilor Ventura, Rodolfo “Boy” Ventura, had contested the Barangay Chairman election.
The witness’s statement pointed to Ventura as the “mastermind” in the killing of Caraang while Peralta and Arturo Bernardino planned the assassination.
Jeremy Itan was the gunman who shot the victim with a caliber .45 firearm, while riding in tandem to the motorcycle being driven by Beo Domingo.
Nestor Soriano provided the details on the minutest details of movement of the victim which facilitated the execution of the slaying.