Five suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of former Batangas 2nd District Rep. Edgar Mendoza and his two aides whose charred bodies were found in a recovered vehicle in Tiaong, Quezon earlier this month.
Brig. Gen. Joel Napoleon Coronel, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group acting director, on Wednesday said one of the suspects was identified as the mastermind while another was found to be the one who stabbed and burned the victims.
Coronel, however, did not disclose the identities of the suspects while the investigation is ongoing.
He said the suspects are now detained at the CIDG detention center in Camp Crame pending the filing of charges against them.
“They are undergoing investigation as of the moment and we are in the process of gathering additional evidence and we will also be consulting with the Department of Justice prosecutors on this account so we would be able to file a strong case against these suspects,” Coronel told reporters in a chance interview.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said the identities of the bodies were confirmed to be Mendoza while the two others were his driver, Ruel Ruiz, and bodyguard, Nicanor Mendoza.
"The bodies were burned beyond recognition. DNA test was conducted to establish their identities. The DNA result was released on January 15, 2020," the PNP said in a statement.
Coronel said investigators are looking into a legal dispute as possible motive of the killing as one of the arrested suspects reportedly admitted to having a financial transaction with Mendoza.
The charred bodies were recovered inside Mendoza's car, a Honda Civic (DAN 6374) in Barangay San Francisco, Tiaong, Quezon.
Mendoza was accompanied by Ruiz and Mendoza when they left his home in for a meeting in Lipa City and Calamba, Laguna on Jan. 8.
The car was registered to Begbog Properties Inc. in Rosario, Batangas.