‘No fall guys, pls.’
“We don’t want a fall guy.”
The family of slain lawyer Noel Archival yesterday called on the police to zero in on the real assailants and not to give them scapegoats just to make it appear that the authorities have already solved the crime.
“Our family is not putting too much pressure on the task force. We’re giving them an opportunity to make good of this investigation. We want the real assailants to be imprisoned,” Nelson Archival, the victim’s brother, said yesterday morning.
He said their family as well as some lawyers are closely monitoring the police task force’s performance in conducting its probe on Archival’s death.
“We have a team that’s looking into the progress of the investigation. Our family has something to say about the probe but we would rather keep it among ourselves for now,” he said.
Nelson said that should the police fail to get the real assassins, everything would have been a waste of time.
“We want the task force to focus on what they are doing so they will get the right assailants. We don’t want fall guys to be arrested,” he explained.
Supt. Renato Malazarte, deputy director for operations of the Cebu Provincial Police Office and the designated spokesperson of Task Force Archival, yesterday said they are now “80 percent sure” that they could identify the gunmen who waylaid Archival and his aides. He said they are basing their assessment on the evidence and testimonies they have secured so far.
Malazarte, however, corrected his previous statement that Paulo Cortes, the lawyer’s driver who survived the attack, saw the gunman’s face.
He said what Cortes saw was an image of the hooded gunman in the act of firing his weapon. The witness allegedly said that the gunman was wearing dark glasses, a bonnet and a cap to conceal his identity.
Malazarte, who also released a facial composite of one of the suspects, said the one pictured is the suspicious person Cortes allegedly saw tailing them in Dumaguete City.
The suspect was described to be around 35 years old, between 5’3 and 5’4 in height, medium build with white complexion, clean-cut with thick eyebrows and chinky eyes and with prominent cheekbones.
Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, the slain lawyer’s brother, was reportedly upset when the police announced on Wednesday that the gunman had been identified based on the driver’s account.
The councilor in a phone call questioned the veracity of a Cebu Daily News report which he claimed was based on something that is untrue.
Malazarte’s statement before reporters on Wednesday was the basis of the report. He told reporters: “Actually nakakita siya mismo kon si kinsa nagpusil kanila, gihimuan pud nato na og cartographic (sic) sketch.”
(Actually, he (Cortes) saw who shot them and we even made a facial composite of the suspect.)
The police at the same time took offense at the statement attributed to Nelson Archival who said on TV that the perpetrators seem to be “well-trained” just like members of the country’s security forces. He, however, qualified his statement that he was no
t accusing anyone.
Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino, chief of police of Central Visayas, said Archival’s statement is unfair.
“Masyado namang unfair yan sa PNP and military. If you’re going to plan for execution, ganun din ang mga criminals. Ang mga criminal elements may mga plano din sila. Alam nila kung paano i-execute and how to get away with it. Katulad niyan pinlano yan, maybe days or weeks before the execution, pinlano na nila, minonitor na nila si Attorney. Kaya din gawin nang mga criminal elements yung pag-execute ng crime very deliberate and walang maiiwan na ebidensya, So very unfair naman yan na sabihin nila na makagagawa lang nito ay members ng PNP or AFP,” he said.
Constantino admitted encountering delays in the investigation, saying they were just being careful to avoid arresting the wrong suspects. “As much as we want to speed up our investigation pero right now meron pa tayong lacking pieces of evidence as well as testimony ng mga witnesses so that we can be able to file appropriate charges,” he added.
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