The suspect in the ambush-slay of Ermita barangay captain admitted being propositioned to kill the village chief but said he refused because he had known Rupinta for several years.
“Di ko ka ako og himo ana kay suod mi ni kap (I could not do that because I was close to Rupinta),” said Jimmy Largo, who was identified by Rupinta’s common-law wife Jocelyn Mendoza as the one who fired at their vehicle in Barangay Tayud, Liloan town, on the evening of Thursday, November 23.
Saying he was framed up, Largo however refused to reveal the identity of the person who propositioned him, but merely said politics is the motive behind Rupinta’s killing and it was a politician who propositioned him.
Largo said that the politician was once an official of the barangay and was Rupinta’s political rival.
“Kontra na ni kap. Wa ko mosugot sa iyang gusto. Maong nangita na siya og lain,” Largo said.
(The person is a rival of Rupinta. I refused his proposition so they looked for someone else.)
He claimed that a certain “Nognog” could have been the one who might have killed the barangay captain.
Not yet solved
While Barug Team Rama officials in Cebu City commended the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the arrest of Largo, they said the case is not yet entirely solved.
They urged the police to find the other suspects in the shooting as well as the mastermind behind the plan to kill Rupinta.
“I laud the police for the arrest of one of the alleged triggermen. However, it needs further investigation and evaluation. There is a need to find out who are the others involved and most importantly, the mastermind,” said Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.
“That matter needs further evaluation and investigation. There are many instances when fall guys were made to appear as the culprits to hide the real criminals. Police should not be misled and they should be smarter than the criminal perpetrators,” he added.
He pointed out that based on the firsthand witness account of Rupinta’s common-law wife, who was with him inside the pickup vehicle when he was shot several times, there were two assailants riding two different motorbikes.
And while there are assailants that are considered as principals by direct participation, Labella said there is also the mastermind in the criminal offense which is known as the principal by induction.
Labella highlighted the need for the police to thoroughly check on the circumstances if it was really Largo who shot Rupinta.
On the other hand, even if the police disregarded the politics as the reason for Rupinta’s killing, Councilor Dave Tumulak also said the police should investigate deeper.
“Unless makuha ang tinud-anay nga mastermind diha ta gyud motoo nga mao na na (Unless they arrest the real mastermind, we should not believe that that is already the motive),” Tumulak told Cebu Daily News.
He reiterated his call to the public to cooperate with the police.
“We are seeking more witnesses who have knowledge of this incident,” Tumulak said.
Largo was arrested by the Police Regional Office (PRO-7) past 8 p.m. on Friday at the Carbon Public Market.
Police said that Largo was allegedly the gunman in the shooting to death of Rupinta last Thursday.
However, Largo denied the allegations and further said he does not belong to a group of “professional hired killers” which the police claimed.
“Bisan ika-bayntehon pako nila’g patay, wa gyud koy grupo,” said Largo. (Even if they kill me 20 times, I do not have any group.)
However, he admitted being a drug user but denied being a pusher.
He admitted owning the two firearms confiscated by the police during his arrest.
“Gipalit na nako kay ibaligya ra usab. Pero di ko kahibaw mogamit ana (I bought it to resell it. I do not know how to use a firearm),” Largo said.
Largo said that he has been Rupinta’s sidekick even before the latter became barangay captain.
“Maninda pa na si kap og bombay ako naninda og painitan. Ing-ana mi kasuod ni kap (Rupinta used to sell onions and I sold coffee. We were that close),” Largo said.
He said Rupinta had been good to him.
“Ngano gud tawn ako na siya mapatay nga daghan mana siya og natabang nako. Tao man gud ko niya (Why should I kill him when he helped me a lot. I am his man),” Largo said.
He said that he had been helping Rupinta when the latter entered politics.
He said that he was imprisoned because of murder some time in 2003.
“Gisugo ra sad ko adto ni kap (Rupinta). Mga snatchers to nisukol man mao to akong napatay (I was just tasked by Rupinta. The snatchers resisted so I killed them),” Largo said.
Largo believed that he was framed and said he did not know why Mendoza pointed to him as the gunman.
He also questioned his arrest, saying the police just relied on the description of the killer who allegedly matched his features.
“Anggid-anggid daw nako. Ila kong gidakop kay parehas kuno nako? (The killer looked like me, they said. So they arrested me based on that?),” Largo cried.
He said that he is willing to cooperate with the police to find the “real killer.”
Meanwhile, Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said he trusts the police in their identification and arrest of Largo. But he also said the case is not yet completely solved.
“I think the entire picture has not been painted yet. We have to identify the mastermind of this gruesome murder. We will never rest until justice is served,” Garcia said.
Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera also said the police should also hunt the other person who was with Largo during the shooting, as well as the mastermind behind the crime.
As to the P300,000-reward money that Barug Team Rama offered for any information leading to the arrest of Rupinta’s killers, the group has not yet decided on how to give it.
Labella said they will still be meeting to discuss the reward money and consult with other members of the group.
It is not yet sure if the entire amount will be given considering that only one of the two suspects identified by the witness has been arrested.
Subscribe to our regional newsletter
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.