BATANGAS, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – Police recovered the charred remains of 3 people inside a car in Tiaong, Quezon, on Thursday, January 9, one of them identified as former Batangas 2nd District representative Edgar Mendoza.
Major Laurenz Panganiban, Tiaong police officer-in-charge, said the bodies had been burnt to the bone so they could not be identified immediately, but the vehicle was owned by Mendoza who was last seen with his driver and aide on Wednesday, January 8.
“Their body were burned beyond recognition. Buto na lang ang natira kaya hindi pa namin ma-identify as of this moment (All that was left of them are bones so we have not identified them as of the moment),” Panganiban said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
A DNA test was conducted on the remains but the 3 were later identified – based on the physical evidence found on them – as Mendoza, his driver Ruel Ruiz, and his bodyguard Nicanor Mendoza.
Panganiban said they received a phone call from a resident in Barangay San Francisco early Thursday morning, informing them that there was a burning car in their area.
Police immediately went to the site with firefighters to put out the fire, and found 3 bodies inside the car.
Panganiban said Edgar Carlos Mendoza, the former congressman’s son, identified the burned vehicle – a Honda Civic – as owned by his father. The son also found some documents belonging to his father inside the vehicle.
Based on the initial investigation, Mendoza, Ruiz, and his aide left the Mendoza residence in Batangas City on Wednesday, January 8, to meet a client in Calamba, Laguna.
“Dumaan pa nga daw sila ng Lipa para doon maglunch (They even passed by LIpa to have lunch),” Panganiban said, quoting Mendoza’s son.
Mendoza’s family reported him missing when he failed to come home Wednesday night.
Malacañang, citing news reports, expressed outrage over the “death” of Mendoza, though the latter’s family had not made any official statement yet at the time.
“According to news reports, former Cong. Mendoza and an unidentified person, who was believed to be his aide, were found dead with their bodies set on fire inside the lawmaker’s vehicle. This is an outrageous act of barbarism. The perpetrators of this heinous crime will be pursued till they are placed behind bars,” he said.
“We assure the bereaved family of the deceased that justice will be accorded by prosecuting the people behind this dastardly crime to the fullest extent of the law,” Panelo added.
Malacañang also extended its condolences to the Mendoza family. “As the Palace condemns this recent felony, we express our deep condolences to the family, loved ones, colleagues and constituents of the late former Congressman Edgar Mendoza.” – Rappler.com