It is understandable that there are lots of angles to be considered in the murder of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta last week. The disputable presumption is that the well-planned ambush was done by hired killers and that there must be somebody behind as mastermind.
While all angles are considered, it is unavoidable that there are few who suspect that Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña may be the one responsible because it is public knowledge that Rupinta was his enemy, more so when he said that he is happy of the incident.
Although for now, I should say that it is still too early to make a conclusion. In fact, carefully and fairly scrutinizing the facts, it seems far-fetched that Osmeña masterminded the killing.
Let me go back to the conflicting versions between the police and Mr. Jimmy Largo, one of the alleged principals by direct participation. Both facts will negate that Osmeña is involved.
Let us first evaluate the version of the police. They said that they have witnesses that Jimmy Largo, together with his cohorts, used single motorcycles when they ambushed Rupinta in Liloan, Cebu. In less than 24 hours, they arrested Largo who was in possession of unlicensed fire arms, explosives and shabu.
During the press conference conducted by the police, Largo was positively identified by Jocelyn Mendoza, Rupinta’s live-in partner who was with him during the incident. In fact, she cried while pointing at Largo and angrily attacked him in front of the press. This makes the police version so far more credible than other versions.
The police said that they already have the idea of the mastermind and that they ruled out politics as among the motives. They emphasized that it is related to the job of Rupinta as barangay chairman. If we believe in the version of the police, then Osmeña is out of the picture.
On the other hand, let us asses the conflicting version given by the detained suspect, Largo. He set up a theory of denial and alibi, a weak defense. He alleged that he was in Carbon when the ambush of Rupinta in Liloan happened. But the police has already preserved a copy of CCTV footages in an establishment in Liloan to counter the claim of the suspect.
Largo further alleged that politics is behind as he was hired by a former barangay official to kill Rupinta for P150,000, but he declined as he could not afford to kill his boss, Rupinta. He alleged that said person is a rival of Rupinta in barangay politics.
Granting for the sake of argument that the suspect’s version is true, it is clear that “politics” as motive refers purely to barangay. Everyone knows that Rupinta did not have any ambition to run for mayor against Osmeña.
Besides, Osmeña’s brand of politics is not about killing his political rivals. Praise God that Cebu’s politics is not identical to that of some places in Masbate and Mindanao. I just hope that our politicians will just keep it that way. So on the alleged political motive, Osmeña emerges unscathed.
Nevertheless, his comment that he is happy with the death of Rupinta or whatever comments he has made relative to the latter’s death is blatantly inappropriate. In fact, most often, we remember the dead person’s good deeds rather than the bad ones.
It is said that a dead person tells no tale anymore. So defaming a murdered person who could not have the opportunity to answer and defend himself is synonymous to murdering him again.
If memory serves me right, Rupinta was not mentioned by President Rodrigo Duterte in his list of government officials considered as drug protectors. Had he been in such list and in the league of the Parojinogs and the Espinosas, then it could have been a different story; his death would have generated some sense of relief to some people.
Osmeña might be honest enough of his feelings against Rupinta even up to his grave, but it would have been better if he just kept it to himself.
Indeed, there are things that are good if they remain unsaid.