The autopsy on the remains of retired Court of Appeals Justice Normandie Pizarro, founded dead in Tarlac on October 30 after he was reported missing, suggested he was shot from the back of his ear, the National Bureau of Investigation said Wednesday.
“He was shot from the back of the right ear and (the bullet) exited on the upper left portion of head,” NBI Deputy Director Ferdinand Lavin said when asked about the autopsy findings.
NBI investigators have returned to the crime scene in San Simon, Pampanga, where Pizarro’s car was found. Agents will do another forensic investigation on the car, Lavin said.
The bureau confirmed last Monday that the mutilated remains found in Capas, Tarlac on October 30 were those of Pizarro, who was last seen leaving a hotel-casino in Pampanga seven days earlier.
The NBI had to run DNA tests because the body had missing fingers and an amputated hand.
According to the NBI, a witness claimed that three men were behind the gruesome killing.
Pizarro, who retired in 2018, is one of the more than 50 lawyers -- including judges and prosecutors -- who were killed in the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta condemned the murder.
“I ask our law enforcement agencies to press on with their investigation so that the perpetrators of this barbaric act can be caught and brought to justice,” Peralta said earlier in a statement.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra himself said investigators were looking into Pizarro’s work at the CA among other possible motives behind the killing.
“The NBI is still investigating. But this will be solved very soon. The NBI is looking at all possible angles, and Justice Pizarro’s previous works in the Court of Appeals is surely one of them,” the secretary said.
Pizarro, who spent 13 years in the appellate court, handled and dismissed cases filed against pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles and former Palawan governor Joel Reyes.
Meanwhile, NBI Special Task Force chief Gerald Geralde said they did a reenactment of Pizarro’s killing based on the account of an individual they now consider a witness.
The NBI added the suspects removed any identifying features such as Pizarro’s clothes and even his fingers after the shooting.
The task force chief said the CA justice was likely kneeling or seated when he was killed, based on the downward trajectory of the bullet.
Authorities are also studying whether the crime was linked to cases previously handled by Pizarro, his personal conflicts, or his visits to casinos.
“We already have onhand vital information from a person of interest. The NBI will continue to gather additional evidence to bring to life the motive of his killing,” NBI Director Eric Distor said.
Security camera footage obtained by the NBI were able to capture moments that preceded Pizarro’s death.
He was seen getting into his car and leaving the basement of a hotel-casino in Clark, Pampanga on October 23.