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CHR to invite Ungab’s wife to shed light on husband’s slay

Pearl Ungab cries as she desperately tries to help her husband, lawyer Jonnah John Ungab, who was shot by an unidentified gunman inside their car as he slowed down to turn from the Port Service Road towards S. Osmeña Street, after attending court hearings at the nearby Hall of Justice in Qimonda Bldg. last Feb. 19,2018.
CDN FILE PHOTO

The wife of slain lawyer Jonnah John Ungab will be invited by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR-7) to shed light on the murder of her husband.

But CHR-7 Special Investigator IV Leo Villarino was quick to say that Pearl Ungab was not a suspect, nor are they accusing her of her husband’s death.

“All possible motives should be included, but let me clarify that we are not suspecting the wife. We are just looking for other angles in the investigation for vital information,” Villarino said.

He said they are also considering a previous incident between Ungab’s wife and lawyer Jiecel Tiu, whom the former suspected of having an affair with her husband.

In 2015, Pearl allegedly attacked the female lawyer who was inside her car and smashed her vehicle using a baseball bat. The incident happened at a parking lot on Echavez Extension in Barangay Cogon Ramos, Cebu City.

A case of slight physical injuries filed by Tiu against Pearl is still pending at the MTCC branch 8 in Cebu City.

CDN contacted John Majed Ungab, spokesperson for the Ungab family for comment but he sent a text message saying that the family is not issuing any media statement and that they will address their concerns directly to the CHR-7.

Villarino said they sent an investigator to Ronda to talk with Ungab’s family and relatives, including Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco III. The CHR official said they were not able to talk to Ungab’s wife as she was not there at that time.

“During our investigation, there was no indication that it is politically connected as far as the mayor is concerned, who is the uncle of Atty. Ungab,” he added.

He said Ungab had no encounters with other political figures in the town.

“We think that the killing has something to do with his lawyering of a high value drug personality. Remember that the lawyer of Kerwin’s father, Atty. (Rogelio) Bato was also killed. Possibly this has also something to do with this,” he said.

Ungab, Ronda town vice mayor and lawyer of self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, was ambushed last February 19 after attending the promulgation of a case for illegal possession of firearms against Espinosa. He also attended other hearings at the Hall of Justice, Qimonda Bldg.

He was inside his car with his wife Pearl, when an unknown assailant approached his car and shot him in the head as he slowed down to turn from the Port Service Road towards S. Osmeña St. The assailant walked towards a waiting motorcycle and fled.

CHR-7 also urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-7 to conduct a thorough investigation especially that the suspects remain unidentified.

“We don’t want this case to have the same fate with the killing of Atty. Bato. Until now, PNP Region 8 has no clear investigation on the motive of the killing,” Villarino added.

The commission will also coordinate with the different establishments located at the crime scene to secure a much clearer CCTV footage available in the area.

Meanwhile, Pearl visited the office of the Homicide Section of the Cebu City police to inquire on the progress of the police investigation.

Senior Insp. Jonathan Taneo said Pearl also brought documents that could help in solving the murder of her husband.

“We believe this would help the case of Atty. Ungab but we will study it first,“ Taneo said. /With Benjie B. Talisic

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