MANILA, Philippines – A Quezon City court found former Abra Governor Vicente Valera and two co-accused guilty of the murder of former Abra Representative Luis Bersamin and his bodyguard SPO1 Adelfo Ortega in December 2006.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima confirmed on Wednesday, September 30, that Judge Roslyn Rabara-Tria of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 84 has sentenced Valera and his co-accused, Rufino Panday and Leo Bello, to 40 years in prison.
The late congressman is the brother of Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin.
Valera, Panday, and Bello were also found guilty of the frustrated murder of Bersamin’s driver Allan Sawadan.
“All accused in People vs Vicente Isidro Valera, Rufino Panday and Leo Bello were convicted of two counts of murder and one count of frustrated murder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua,” De Lima said, quoting Quezon City City Prosecutor Donald Lee.
On December 16, 2006, Bersamin was shot dead after he attended his daughter’s wedding at the Mt. Carmel Church in Quezon City. His bodyguard died in the incident too, while his driver and a 15-year-old boy was wounded.
Justice Bersamin executed an affidavit, identifying Valera as the person with the strongest motive to eliminate his brother. Luis Bersamin, he said, was a threat to the political plans of Valera and his wife.
On October 20, 2007, suspect Freddie Dupo identified Valera was the mastermind in the killings. Dupo was then already facing murder charges before the Quezon City court along with Rufino Panday, Sunny Tacolao, and Dominador Barbosa. – Rappler.com