The Department of Justice has created a three-man panel of prosecutors tasked to conduct the preliminary investigation on the five criminal cases filed before the National Prosecution Service against individuals allegedly involved in the killing of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino in Samar.
In a department order dated June 21, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra designated Senior Assistant State Prosecutors Rodan Parrocha, Assistant State Prosecutor Benny Nicdao, and Prosecution Attorney Rafael Cruz to the panel to conduct the investigation on the cases.
Guevarra ordered the panel to file the necessary charges against the 10 respondents if they find sufficient basis to hold them liable for the killing of Aquino.
“The panel shall likewise handle all cases between/among the same parties which are all related/connected with, or which may have arisen or may arise as a consequence of, any of the aforementioned criminal complaints, including any and all counter-charges,” said Guevarra.
The Justice Secretary also instructed the Prosecutor General and the Regional Prosecutors to forward all the case records to the panel.
“The Prosecutor General and/or the Regional Prosecutors are directed to notify all concerned provincial and city prosecution offices under their jurisdiction to transmit to the Panel the records of all the aforementioned criminal complaint/s and any and/or all subsequent/future criminal complaints which may hereafter be filed,” Guevarra stressed.
The NBI earlier filed murder and frustrated murder charges against Lt. Col. Harry Sucayre, Maj. Shyrille Co Tan, Capt. Dino Goles, Lt. Julio Armeza Jr., Cpl. Julius Garcia, and S/Sgts. Niel Cebu and Edsel Omega.
Civilians Niño Salem, Julius Garcia, Randy Merelos, and several John and Jane Does were also included in the charge sheets.
The 59-year-old Mayor Aquino was reportedly killed in a shootout with policemen last March 8 along Laboyao Bridge when he was on his way to their family-owned resort.