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PAMPANGA, Philippines – Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba has questioned the results of a police investigation two months after the February 19 ambush of Aparri Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and his five companions, as authorities disclosed that they have identified a suspect who conspired with at least five others.
Mamba told Rappler on Wednesday, April 19, that he doubted that the suspects were the real killers.
“This is the 60th day, [and] two months. Sana totoo na (I wish it was true). These are not the people who really did it. Only a few people can do this,” he said.
Mamba added, “[It was] definitely 100% politically motivated. You know, Alameda might have been the next mayor.”
Major Sharon Mallillin, the officer-in-charge of the regional police information office, said on Wednesday that only one of the six suspects, including an alleged politician, was identified while the other five remained unidentified.
The unnamed politician was earlier mentioned by Brigadier General Romeo Caramat, the acting director of the Crime and Investigation Detection Group (CIDG), as a “person of interest” in the ambush carried out in Sitio Kincao, Barangay Baretbet, Bagabag town in Nueva Vizcaya.
The Cagayan Provincial Information Office (PIO) quoted Caramat as saying in a press release that the main motive for the attack resulted from the filing of a graft case against the “persons of interest.”
Caramat was also quoted as saying, “Our person of interest is a politician also. I see we could solve this case 90% because I have already a complete data record, the conversations of our person of interest pati na yung sa conversation sa hitman (including the conversation with the hitman). We are just awaiting the order. Binabantayan na namin, sir, alam na namin kung saan yung mga suspek (We are monitoring this, sir; we know where the suspects are).”
Mallillin said the order Caramat was referring to was the anticipated warrant of arrest from a court.
Mamba said the killing appeared politically motivated, and that a powerful person, with interests in the future of the port of Aparri, was behind it.
According to the PIO, Brigadier General Samuel Nacion, the deputy director for investigation and detective management of the Philippine National Police (PNP), ordered the filing of cases at the National Prosecution Service against Darren Cruz Adorbo, the alleged owner of the white Mitsubishi Adventure used as a getaway vehicle.
The vehicle was set afire in Barangay Uddiawan, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, a day after the ambush.
The cases filed against Adorbo include six counts of murder, obstruction of justice, and violation of the Philippine Clean Air Act, the Police Regional Office 2 said on Tuesday, April 18.
Adorbo, a resident of Barangay Luna, Santa Rosa, Nueva Ecija, was also suspected to be behind the burning of the vehicle.
Mallillin said they could not yet identify which of the six suspects masterminded the ambush, adding that the investigation was ongoing.
Alameda was ambushed with his five companions identified as Alexander Agustin Delos Angeles, Alvin Dela Cruz Abel, Abraham Dela Cruz Ramos Jr., John Duane Banag Almeda, and Ismael Nanay Tumaru. – Rappler.com