Trece Martires mayor 'mastermind' in vice mayor's slay?
MANILA, Philippines – Trece Martires Mayor Melandres de Sagun is the "mastermind" in the killing of Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan, no less than the vice mayor's wife said in an affidavit submitted to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday, November 5.
Citing the testimony of the brother of the suspected gunman Ariel Paiton, Lubigan's widow, Gemma, said it was De Sagun who ordered the killing of her husband in July after the vice mayor revealed his plan to run for mayor in the 2019 elections.
A DOJ panel of prosecutors is currently hearing the case of Lubigan, which is the basis for two counts of murder and one count of frustrated murder against Mayor De Sagun.
Evidence against the mayor: So far, Gemma Lubigan has the testimony of Alex Paiton, who said that his brother confided in him that he was ordered to kill Lubigan by De Sagun himself.
An attached affidavit of a certain Henry Ellago also identified Ariel Paiton as a security officer of Mayor De Sagun.
Building up the murder charges, Lubigan accused De Sagun of having the political motive to kill her husband, saying, "The death of Vice Mayor Lubigan eliminated the top-seeded mayoralty candidate."
"The rise of popularity and public clamor for the late vice mayor served as a threat to the power held so long by the De Sagun clan," she added.
Mayor's denial: In an earlier affidavit, Mayor De Sagun said that he denies "in strongest terms" his hand in the killing of Lubigan. The local executive then downplayed the testimony of Alex Paiton as mere hearsay. (GALLERY: Who are mayors, vice mayors killed under Duterte?)
"The only evidence presented against me is the statement of one Alex Paiton...I vehemently deny the same and this hearsay evidence is very unreliable and untrustworthy, and thus devoid of probative value," the mayor said.
Gemma Lubigan, however, countered in her affidavit that hearsay evidence is admissible during preliminary investigation, and could be built up further as the case is heard in court. – Rappler.com