Rupinta slay mastermind already identified by police
Police claim that they have identified the mastermind of the ambush-slay of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta and are currently building a case against him.
Police Regional director, Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino, however refused to identify the suspect and asked for patience.
”What we ask is patience. We really are doing our job. Nakikiusap kami na hintayin natin ang gulong ng hustisya (We request the public to wait for the wheels of justice),” Espino said.
The family and some colleagues of Rupinta had asked for a speedy investigation and the unmasking of the identity of the mastermind.
Espino, however, said that as much as they want to reveal the identity of the mastermind, the police is still building a strong and tight case against the person behind the killing of Rupinta.
“Natukoy na ang mastermind. Pero kailangan talaga pag-ingatan para di tayo mabutasan kung sakaling magfile tayo ng case laban sa kanya,” Espino added.
(We have already identified the mastermind. But we still need to be careful so that there will be no loopholes in case we will file a case against that person.)
Saying that he understood the sentiments of the family and supporters of Rupinta, he asked for understanding because the police are doing their best and so that their operations would not be preempted.
Yesterday, Regional Special Operations Group 7 chief Reynaldo Magdaluyo said they have identified five other possible suspects.
“We’re hunting down five more suspects but we will not give more details to avoid preempting future operations,” said Magdaluyo.
Meantime, Jordan Gera, the second alleged gunman of Rupinta, was formally charged with murder and attempted murder by the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
Because Gera waived his right to file a counter-affidavit, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Llewelyn Bonghanoy filed the information in court and recommended bail at P120,000.
Gera, clad in bullet-proof vest and helmet, was escorted by law enforcers from RSOG and the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) past 11 a.m. yesterday.
He refused to issue any statement, except, “Adto ra ko sa korte mutubag kung pangutan-on ko (I’ll only answer in court if they will ask me).”
Gera is facing the same charges as that of Jimmy Largo, who was arrested by the police 24 hours after Rupinta’s death.
Largo was arrested on the evening of November 24 while Gera was arrested on the afternoon of December 1.
When Gera was arrested in his residence in Barangay Jugan, Consolacion town, the municipality next to Liloan, the arresting officers claimed it was done in hot pursuit.
However, Commission on Human Rights Regional Director Arvin Odron had said the police’s arrest “fell short of the standard of hot pursuit.”
Lawyer Salvador Solima, representing Rupinta’s common-law wife, Jocelyn Mendoza, said the arresting officers followed the requirements that constitute hot pursuit.
“The element of personal knowledge and a large measure of immediacy must be present in hot pursuit. And our police complied them both but they did not divulge details that fall under personal knowledge since they do not want to preempt their future operations in arresting the other suspects involved,” explained Solima.
Among the affidavits submitted by the police to bolster the case against Gera was that of Mendoza, who presented herself before Assistant Prosecutor Bonghanoy.
In her affidavit, Mendoza positively identified Gera as one of the men on board the motorcycle that waylaid their vehicle. She said officers from RSOG-7 presented her a computerized facial composite.
“At about 3 p.m. of December 1, 2017, I appeared before RSOG-7 office as requested by PCI Emanuel S. Gomez, deputy chief, RSOG-7. I was informed that RSOG personnel led by PCI Gomez had already in their custody suspect John Doe 2. I positively identified the suspect as one of the gunmen in the shooting incident,” her affidavit, referring to Gera as John Doe 2, read.
“I later knew his full identity as Jordan Gera y Trazona, Filipino, male, married, of legal age, vendor at Carbon Public Market and a resident of Jugan, Consolacion, Cebu,” the affidavit further read.
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