DOJ clears cops accused of killing QC prosecutor
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it found no sufficient proof to charge 3 policemen for the killing of Quezon City deputy city prosecutor Rogelio Velasco in May 2018.
In a 32-page resolution, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong dismissed the murder complaint filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Senior Police Officer 2 Rodante Lalimarmo, Police Officer 3 Arthur Lucy, and Police Officer 1 Jose Mercado.
“Mere speculations and probabilities cannot substitute for proof required to establish the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt,” the DOJ said.
It added: “Neither should complainants rely on suspicion, for suspicion alone is not sufficient. Suspicion, no matter how strong should not sway judgment, it being an accepted axiom that the prosecution cannot rely on the weakness of the defense to gain a conviction, but must establish beyond reasonable doubt every circumstance essential to the guilt of the accused.”
All 3 policemen presented witnesses and affidavits that backed up their claims that they were nowhere near the scene of the crime – on Holy Spirit Drive in Barangay Holy Spirit in Quezon City – on May 11, 2018.
They also proved they didn’t know each other and could not have possibly conspired to commit the crime.
At the time of the incident, Mercado said, he was on duty in Candelaria, Quezon. Lalimarmo claimed he was in a meeting with client for his car selling business. Lucy said he was on duty at Quezon City Police District Station 6 in Batasan Hills at the time.
Lalimarmo said he only met the two other suspects during the preliminary investigation of the case at the DOJ.
In its complaint, the NBI said that a day before Velasco was killed, he had a shouting match with PO1 Mercado, who was following up on the illegal firearms and drug case against his brother, Edgardo Lunar Mercado, which Velasco was handling.
The NBI said it had CCTV footage showing the movement of the 3 cops and several still-unidentified accomplices before Velasco was shot dead.
One footage showed Lucy on board a motorcycle and walking toward the DOJ building of the Quezon City Hall, where Velasco worked. – Rappler.com