Mendoza family urges 'client' of slain ex-Batangas congressman to help cops
BATANGAS CITY – The son of slain former Batangas 2nd District representative Edgar Mendoza has appealed to the still unidentified "client" of their father – believed to be the last person Mendoza met before his death – to come forward and help authorities investigating his father's case.
Lawyer Edgar Carlos “EC” Mendoza Jr made the appeal as the family, as well as authorities, remained clueless on the motive for the apparent murder of the former lawmaker, along with his driver Ruel Ruiz and bodyguard Nicanor Mendoza.
All the family knew was that Mendoza and his aides left for Calamba, Laguna, on Wednesday, January 8, to meet a client. They did not come home that night, and the lawmaker's car – found with 3 charred bodies – was found burning on a roadside in Tiaong, Quezon, past midnight on Thursday, January 9.
“Kung mabasa niya itong report, 'yung ka-meeting ni Daddy, sana makipagtulungan sa pulisya o lumapit para kung wala naman talaga siyang kinalaman e makatulong naman siya sa imbestigasyon,” EC pleaded during the interview.
(If that person reads this report, the one who had a meeting with Daddy, we hope that person would cooperate or approach the police if that client really had no involvement [in the death], and help in the investigation.)
Mendoza was a lawyer by profession. Aside from his stint in Congress, he was also a former immigration commissioner, Batangas City Regional Trial Court judge, OIC vice mayor, city administrator, and city councilor.
EC, who followed in his father's footsteps in the legal profession, said he could not think of a case his father handled that might have caused his untimely demise. But he had yet to review the documents recovered from the scene of the crime.
“'Yung records na na-recover sa scene kinuha ulit ng pulis pero gusto ko rin sana matingnan personal para mas maintindihan ko kung ano, kasi mga kaso namin 'yon,” he said.
(The records that the police recovered from the scene, the police took them but I want tocheck them myself so that I can understand them better, since those are our cases.)
The former Batangas representative died at the age of 69, just barely a week before his 70th birthday on January 15. His sister Lorie said they had even prepared for his birthday celebration.
'Process of elimination'
While the results of the DNA test on the remains of the 3 victims have yet to be released, EC said authorities identified them using the "process of elimination."
“Ang ginawa nila (SOCO) ay by process of elimination para ma-identify 'yung mga bodies pero hindi pa talaga 100% na verified (SOCO identified the bodies by process of elimination but it's not yet really 100% verified)," he said.
EC said two of the charred remains had denim material stuck on them, leading authorities to conclude that these belonged to the driver and the bodyguard as they wore jeans at the time. These two also had other items that helped identify them.
In the case of his father, EC said, " Yung isa walang maong kasi malamang light materials ang suot. Malamang 'yun ang father ko (The other had no denim on him because he was probably wearing light materials. So that could be my father).
EC added that his father's personal belongings were missing when authorities found him.
“Yung dalawa niyang kasama may singsing at 'yung shoulder bag ni Nick nakita rin pero 'yung sa father ko may dalawang bag, may Rolex na relo at kuwintas na ginto pero hindi rin nakita. So baka napaginterisan ng mga gumawa sa kanila noon," he said.
(His two companions wore rings and Nick's shoulder bag was also found but in the case of my father who had two bags, a Rolex watch, and a gold necklace – none of these items were found. So the one who did this to them probably took these items.)
'Report the truth'
During the interview, EC also expressed disappointment with media outlets that reported his father’s death even before it could be confirmed – at a time when they were still hoping for some good news.
Adding insult to the injury were "fake news" related to the incident.
“May mga lumabas pang balita na may babae daw kasama; sobrang fake news. Mayroon din nagsabi na binaril daw. Hindi naman ni-rule out na binaril nga ang cause of death pero nagtataka ako wala pa naman nakakaalam talaga, may mga lumabas na kaagad na haka-haka," he said.
(There were reports that there was a woman with him; super fake news. And then someone reported he was shot. Being shot as a cause of death was not ruled out but I was just wondering about it since no one knew what really happened, yet there were all sorts of speculations that came out.)
"Noong time na 'yon, nakakasama ng damdamin kasi pinangungunahan nila kami eh. Sana kung ano lang ang facts, kung ano lang ang totoo, 'yun lang ang i-report (At the time, he pained us so much because they preempted us. We wish that they would just stick to facts and just report the truth)," EC added.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra had ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct an investigation and case buildup on the suspected killing of Mendoza and his aides. (READ: Mendoza family seeks justice for ex-Batangas congressman, aides) – Rappler.com