AGOO, La Union—La Union 2nd District Representative Sandra Eriguel has pleaded to President Rodrigo R. Duterte, on behalf of her family, to direct the Philippine National Police (PNP) to fast track the identification and arrest of the mastermind behind her husband’s murder.
Eriguel’s husband, former 2nd District Representative Eufranio “Franny” Eriguel, along with Bobby Ordinario (traffic aide), Mc Ruel Tubera and Patrick Manabat have died in a shooting by armed men while attending a barangay gathering in Capas here on May 12.
Eriguel, in a press briefing on Tuesday, said “the arrested suspect, Felizardo ‘Rambo’ Villanueva, is merely a lookout of the gunmen and surely, there is a mastermind behind this attack”.
Seven others have been wounded and are still covering in the hospital, while some of them were already discharged.
Ten days after the shooting incident, the police have so far arrested Villanueva and are presently identifying the two unmasked gunmen based on the closed circuit television camera recording and statement from witnesses, said Police Senior Supt. Reynaldo Tamondong, Chief of the Regional Investigation and Detection Management Division.
Villanueva, who eventually lost the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, was a candidate for barangay chairman in Capas, rivaling the candidate supported by the slain Eriguel.
“Villanueva’s name surfaced from the witnesses, right after the incident,” Tamondong said.
He added they will file additional count of murder as well as attempted and frustrated murder against Villanueva, on top of the three counts of murder they have already filed.
He also said that they are cross-matching the fired bullets from M16 rifle, calibre .45 pistol, calibre .9mm pistol, and M14 rifle recovered from the crime scene.
“We are strengthening the (pieces of) evidence against the suspect, so it will not have loopholes,” Tamondong said.
He further disclosed that they are convincing Villanueva to testify on what he knows about the murder.
“He (Villanueva) is the point-man, not the principal suspect, so we hope we could convince him to divulge who orchestrated the crime, as we believe he is not the author and he is just an accomplice,” he said.
Police Supt. Marlon Paiste, police information officer of Police Regional Office, said they are also waiting for the court order in order to retrieve the messages from Villanueva’s cellphone.
Police Senior Supt. Adolfo Rafanan, newly assigned officer-in-charge of La Union Police Provincial Office, revealed that they are to investigate the alleged denied request letter for security assistance on the said barangay gathering sent to the Agoo Police.
“We will see if there is neglect of duty here and disciplinary actions will be taken if indeed there is,” Tamondong added to Rafanan’s statement.
Tamondong also noted that the recall of the police escort to Eriguel was part of the election process.
“We (the policemen) are duty bound due to the election. The recall was the directive of our higher office and the Commission on Elections. We are in maximum deployment of personnel during election time as we need to perform checkpoints and provide security to the ballots and precincts,” Tamondong said.
Meanwhile, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Regional Director Angelito Magno said the crime “is a conspiracy but no definite motive yet”.
Magno confirmed that they are conducting a parallel investigation in support of the actions of the PNP.
The Special Investigation Task Group investigating the case has six months to solve the crime, said Tamondong.
The former solon’s remains is open for public viewing at their residence in barangay Sta. Barbara here, while a unity walk will be held on May 24 and the funeral will be on May 26.
“We have laid down security plans for the wake and funeral, wherein a total of 154 soldiers and policemen will be present during the funeral,” said Police Chief Inspector Bernabe Oribello, officer-in-charge of Agoo Police Station.
Representative Eriguel urged the other witnesses to cooperate with the police in order to identify the culprits on her husband’s death.
“La Union is a peaceful province and we hope that peace will return soon. We hope that there would be true justice; justice not just for my husband but for those who have also lost their loved ones, who became a widow like me; even for those who have been injured. Hopefully, the mastermind will be arrested soon,” Eriguel said. Hilda Austria/PNA-northboundasia.com