BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – A local court here dismissed murder charges against Negros Occidental First District Representative Melecio Yap Jr and his co-accused for lack of probable cause.
In a four-page decision dated October 24, Bacolod City Regional Trial Court Branch 44 Judge Ana Celeste Bernad said there was no single incident that would implicate the official and his co-accused, Gregory Tuayon, in the murder of Eric Matugas, who was shot dead on July 11, 2011 in Barangay Mabini, Escalante City.
The judge ordered the case dismissed for “lack of probable cause to merit the issuance of warrants of arrest” against Yap and Tuayon.
The case was among 4 counts of murder and one count of frustrated murder filed against Yap, who was accused of extrajudicial killings from 2007 to 2011 in Escalante City when he was the mayor there.
The solon allegedly connived with the communist rebels in killing the supporters of former mayor Santiago Barcelona, Yap’s political rival.
The decision said, “the testimonies of the witnesses failed to categorically narrate the individual participation of both accused or, if not, their common intent or design to commit the crime.”
It did not even state when and where the planning to kill the victim and on such planning, who will execute the killing, the judge added.
In 2017, the RTC in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental also dismissed the other charges – 3 counts of murder and one of frustrated murder – against Yap and his co-accused for lack of probable cause.
Earlier, the lawmaker filed a motion for reconsideration before the Ombudsman after it found probable cause to file charges against him.
The anti-graft court, however, denied Yap’s motion.
Yap had vehemently denied the accusations against him, as he insisted it was politically-motivated. – Rappler.com