DOJ clears Trece Martires mayor, 2 others of vice mayor's murder
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) found no probable cause to indict Mayor Melandres de Sagun of Trece Martires City, Cavite, and two others for murder and frustrated murder charges over the killing of the city's vice mayor Alex Lubigan and his driver Romulo Guillemer.
Aside from De Sagun, Luis Vasquez Abad Jr and Rhonel Bersamina were also cleared, DOJ spokesperson Markk Perete confirmed in a text message to reporters on Tuesday, February 12.
But the DOJ found probable cause to indict suspected gunman Ariel Paiton for two counts of murder, and Councilor Lawrence Arca of Maragondon, Cavite, as an accessory to the crime.
In September 2018, the Cavite police filed a complaint for murder and frustrated murder against De Sagun, Abad, Paiton, Arca, and Bersamina.
Lubigan was shot dead in July 2018, making him the 5th vice mayor at the time to be killed under the Duterte administration. The number has since gone up to 7 vice mayors, and 12 mayors.
According to the Cavite police, Lubigan had told some people of his plans to run for mayor in 2019 a mere days before the killing.
De Sagun's wife was also reportedly set to run for mayor, pitting them against each other despite being allies in past elections. De Sagun's camp had earlier denied accusations against the mayor.
Politics was the top-of-mind motive that the Cavite police looked at when they began the investigation. – Rappler.com