King family denies alleged drug links
The family of slain Cebuano businessman Richard King cried foul over insinuations that he was involved in the illegal drugs trade.
Lawyer Deolito Alvarez, legal counsel of the King family, said they were extremely disappointed with the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte last Thursday, linking Richard to suspected big-time drug lord Herbert Colangco.
In a statement written by Richard’s younger brother Rafael, the King family said they could not help but speak up to defend their deceased loved one.
“As Christians, we are taught that respect and honor for the dead is a moral value respected by all laws and humanity. It is sad that our deceased brother Richard is no longer around to defend his honor from supposed intelligence report to our beloved President of the Republic of the Philippines,” the statement read.
“As our brother cannot rise from his grave, we, the family of Richard King, bond together to defend the honor of our brother by offering all support to cooperate in the investigation that the President has called as this is the only way we can clear the name of our deceased brother.”
While they were grateful to Duterte for supporting them in identifying the persons who allegedly killed Richard in Davao City in June 2014, Rafael said the President’s recent pronouncement “blackened the memory and soul of our dear brother.”
Alvarez, the family’s lawyer since 2002, said they don’t have plans to go after President Duterte or sue him when his term expires after six years.
He added they also had no plans of meeting with the President but would cooperate in any investigation that may be conducted.
“We’re not hiding anything. And the King family welcomes any investigation that may be conducted,” Alvarez said.
Richard, who owned real estate and hotel businesses in Cebu and other parts of the country, was shot dead inside his office in Barrio Obrero, Davao City on June 12, 2014.
He was 56.
Authorities later arrested Paul Dave Molina Labang and siblings Rommel and Rodel de la Cerna. Labang confessed shooting Richard while the de la Cernas served as lookouts.
The three men pointed to Senior Supt. Leonardo Felonia, then chief of the regional police intelligence unit in Southern Mindanao, as mastermind. Felonia denied the accusations.
A consolidated report by the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) stated that the Davao police had spoken with several private individuals about a “squabble” between Richard and the son of a business partner over mismanagement of the Crown Regency Resorts on Boracay Island in Aklan.
The suspect was heard arguing with King and making a verbal death threat: “Swerte lang ka kay wala ka sa Davao kay kung naa lang ka sa Davao, gipatay ta na ka (You’re fortunate you are not in Davao or else I would have killed you).”
The case concerning Richard’s slay remains pending before the trial court in Davao City.
In a news conference in Malacañang last Thursday, President Duterte alluded to Richard as one of the “connections” of Herbert Colangco, a big-time drug personality, who is detained at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
GMA News quoted Duterte as saying, “I’m sorry now to say to the public and to his (King) family who is now in Cebu that after all, your family or son was involved in the drug front.”
Alvarez said the President’s revelations brought so much sadness and dismay to the King family, who along with then Mayor Duterte, offered a P1.3-million reward in exchange for information leading to the arrest of the suspected killers.
The lawyer said he was Richard’s lawyer for more than a decade, and he could attest that Richard was never involved in illegal drugs.
If Richard was involved in illegal drugs trade, Alvarez said the businessman would have hired lawyers who handle or are experts in drug cases.
Alvarez said he never handled a drug case .
Richard, who has two children, was the owner of Crown Regency Hotel and Towers in Cebu City, the chairman of Vital-C Land Development Corporation, the CEO of J. King and Sons, the president of Fuente Triangle Realty Development Corp, and the founder and director of Boracay Multiple Properties Developers Inc.
His brother Rafael took over the business entities after Richard was killed, Alvarez said.
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