The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed murder and frustrated murder complaints before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against seven policemen and two others identified in the killing of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino last March.
The NBI based their conclusion on 53 statements, CCTV footage, and cellphones they obtained during the course of the investigation.
Named respondents in the case are Police Lt. Col. Harry Sucayre, Police Maj. Shyrile Tan, Police Capt. Dino Goles, Police Lt. Julio Armeza Jr., Police Senior Sgt. Neil Cebu, Police Senior Sgt. Edsel Omega, Patrolman Nino Salem, Julius Garcia, and Randy Merelos Aquino was shot at least 21 times in Laboyao Bridge, Barangay Lonoy, Calbayog City on March 8.
Witnesses described it as an ambush. Police had earlier described the incident as a shootout.
Though police previously claimed that they were forced to return fire after the mayor’s men began shooting them, CCTV footage shows the police officers tailed the mayor for 17 minutes before his death.
After the shooting, the white pick-up that jostled the mayor’s car was seen being followed by a black SUV. The suspects were then caught on video placing the guns inside the vehicle.
“As to the CCTV, it will tell us that this is not just a chance encounter, but as I said a premeditated one. That’s why the report… was it was an ambush,” NBI Deputy Director for Regional Services lawyer Antonio Pagatpat said.
Mansfield Labonite, the lone survivor and the assistant of Aquino, also said the cops fired at them first.
According to Aquino’s son Mark, he believes politics was the motive behind his dad’s killing. Mark asked the PNP to be fair and let its erring officials face trial.
“ I call on the PNP to be fair. If there are officers who violated the law, let us not protect them... I am concerned about the safety of my family and myself,” said Mark, who tagged along with the NBI in filing the complaint.
Mark said the threat against the Aquino family continues. The son previously said he received death threats following his father’s killing.
Aside from the mayor, his driver, security aide, and a civilian were also killed in the ambush.
They were identified as Aquino’s close-in security detail Police Senior Sgt. Rodio Sario; his driver Dennis Abayon; Police Capt. Joselito Tabada; Police Senior Sgt. Romeo Laoyon; and Clint John Paul Yauder, a civilian.