The alleged head of an assassination squad operating in La Union and other provinces in Northern Luzon has surrendered to the Philippine National Police Monday afternoon.
Dismissed police Lt. Col. Wilson Magpali, accompanied by his lawyer, turned himself in at Camp Crame, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said.
“He surfaced because he is being implicated,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier told PNP Ilocos region to “get the head” of the Magpali gang which was reportedly hired by some unscrupulous politicians to harass or liquidate political rivals ahead of the 2022 elections.
The order was in response to the appeal of La Union Rep. Sandra Eriguel who disclosed an alleged assassination plot against her and two mayors in the province.
She said catching the leader of the Magpali group “would lead authorities into the bottom of stemming the political killings in La Union way back in 2018.”
La Union police earlier uncovered the plot to kill a member of the House of Representatives and two mayors following the arrest of several members of the notorious Magpali assassination squad, composed mostly of police and military scalawags, on June 23, 2021.
Eriguel said the discovery of the plot frightened the people of La Union who feared the 2018 violent killings may happen again.
Eriguel, the primary target of the Magpali gang, is the widow of former La Union Rep. Franny Eriguel who was slain in 2018.
“We acknowledge his manifestation of good faith in submitting himself to us, but the moment we establish a case against him, he will have to face his charges squarely, ‘’ Eleazar said.
Magpali, for his part, denied involvement in the assassination group.
“Fearing for my life and to clear my name, honor and integrity and to clear myself from the investigation being conducted against my person, I voluntarily went to the Intelligence Group in Camp Crame, Quezon City to clear my name of the allegations of my alleged involvement,” he said in his affidavit.
“I am not the leader of the Magpali gun for hire group and have no knowledge of the accusation of planned killing of politicians in La Union,” Magpali added.