Reluya ambush ‘partially solved’ as deadline expires
Cebu City, Philippines – The deadline set by Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Oscar Albayalde for police in Cebu to solve the ambush of the group of San Fernando town mayor Lakambini “Neneth” Reluya is already up.
But Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas, director of Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO – 7), said that even if they have already identified the suspects, the case is not yet closed.
“It’s partially solved but not yet cleared since the suspects remain at large. We will be conducting follow-up operations on the suspects,” said Sinas.
Investigators also have yet to determine who wanted the Reluyas dead.
“And it is not yet clear who is the mastermind. We haven’t gotten any evidence from the witnesses that will point to the mastermind,” he added.
In a press conference on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, Senior Superintendent Manuel Abrugena, chief of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), revealed that the gunmen in the ambush of Reluya and six others last January 22, 2019 in Barangay Linao, Talisay City were members of a gun-for-hire group based in Cebu.
They were identified as Felix Abacajan Jr. and Jerome Labitad.
Abacajan, a former village councilor of Maghaway, Talisay City was earlier arrested in 2016 for illegal possession of firearms.
Labitad was the subject of a recent buy-bust that resulted to a firefight between him and police officers. Labitad, however, escaped.
Abrugena said these findings are based on the testimonies provided to them by Reluya, two of her staff who survived the incident, and other witnesses they gathered, whose identities were not revealed due to security purposes.
Their findings will be presented to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame on Thursday.
Albayalde gave investigators in Cebu two weeks to solve and identify the suspects behind the ambush of Reluya. If not met, the investigators in charge of the case will be fired.
The ambush resulted to the death of Reluya’s husband and Panadtaran Barangay Captain, Ricardo “Nonoy” Reluya, their driver Allan Bayot, and San Fernando’s Local Economic and Investment Promotion Office (LEIPO) officer Ricky Monterona. /bjo
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