SITG Reluya rounds up persons of interest, checks CCTV near crime scene

By Delta Derycka Letigio |January 24,2019 - 07:03 PM

Personnel of SOCO examine the van of San Fernando town Mayor Neneth Reluya after the ambush that took the lives of three persons including the mayor’s husband last Tuesday. /Photo by Junjie Mendoza

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Reluya are currently looking at two persons of interest who may be the direct perpetuator of the ambush of San Fernando Mayor Lakambini “Neneth” Reluya, or the mastermind of the crime.

The SITG Reluya is also looking at the CCTV footages around Barangay Linao where the Reluya’s van was intercepted and ambushed.

Today, January 24, is the second day of the two-week timeline that the SITG Reluya was given to solve the ambush of Reluya on Tuesday night, January 22, as per directive of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde.

The directive was given to the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7) and the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) and failure to do so would mean the relief of all police officials involved in the investigation from the local Talisay City police to the regional officers.

Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas, director of the PRO-7, ordered the immediate formation of the SITG Reluya on Wednesday, January 23, to focus on the case and solve it within the period given.

Superintendent Virgilio Bayan-on, the spokesperson of SITG Reluya, said that the team has convened on Thursday morning, January 24, for the first case conference.

“Atong paninguhaon nga mahuman ta ni sa duha ka semana. Halos kada adlaw ta mag case conference,” said Bayan-on in a press conference.

(We will do our best to finish the case in two weeks. We will be holding a case conference almost every day.)

Other motives checked

Although, the SITG Reluya is leaning on political motive for the killing since both Mayor Reluya and her husband are running for mayor and vice-mayor, respectively, of San Fernando in the upcoming midterms elections, other motives such as personal grudge, are also being looked into.

“Ato ning gitutukan ang pulitika kay hapit naman gud ang eleksyon,” said Bayan-on.

(We are focusing on politics because the election is nearing.)

While the case is being investigated, Bayan-on said that the survivors of the ambush including Mayor Reluya and her two personal bodyguards currently admitted at the hospital for treatment, are being protected 24/7 as per directive of Director General Albayalde.

Bayan-on said that their statements are crucial to the investigation and can help identify more persons of interests or even suspects of the incident.

The SITG Reluya is headed by Senior Superintendent Manuel Abrugena, director of the CPPO, with members from the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), the PNP legal team, the Regional Intelligence Unit, the stations of San Fernando town and Talisay City, and even the Cybercrime unit.

Bayan-on said that cybercrime may be involved in the case since Mayor Reluya has previously received threats to her life prior to the ambush which took the life of her husband, Ricardo Reluya, and two others.

The Cybercrime team will be tracing the source of these text messages and identify any connection to the ambush.

No Rewards

Albayalde is confident that investigators can solve the ambush of Mayor Reluya even without the need to reward witnesses.

He said good investigation and not rewards can reveal the perpetrators behind the ambush, as in the murder of Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe which was solved in less than two weeks.

However, Albayalde also said that the police will welcome, should Reluya’s family and friends, offer a reward for a witness in the case./mga

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