Cagayan De Oro City

Murder complaint filed vs man who plowed car through group in Cagayan de Oro

Lynde Salgados
Murder complaint filed vs man who plowed car through group in Cagayan de Oro

DEADLY BRIDGE RIOT. Two groups of young people figure in a riot on a Cagayan de Oro bridge over the weekend. A video of the incident that ended with a man getting killed and several others hurt went viral on social media.

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Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy goes appeals to the suspect to turn himself in 'so as not to aggravate his case'

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Police have filed murder and frustrated murder against the man accused of plowing his car through a group of young people during a riot on a bridge in Cagayan de Oro early this week.

Authorities filed the complaint before the City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, October 14.

The October 9 incident led to a review of a 1995 city ordinance that prohibits loitering and drinking binges in public places such as bridges. It also brought to the city council’s attention the non-enforcement of the city law.

Police said 26-year-old John Paul Levita was killed while 22-year-old Rufus Levita, and teenagers Jhane Valerie Canonero and Prince Lopez were hurt when Neri allegedly drove through their group on October 9.

Cagayan de Oro police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ivan Viñas said police filed the complaint against 27-year-old Stephen Neri, a member of an old and prominent Cagayan de Oro clan, before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Viñas said it took the police a week to bring the case to the local prosecutor’s office because investigators wanted to make sure that the case would be airtight.

Vice Mayor Jocelyn Rodriguez had frowned on the police’s failure to file complaints against Neri immediately, but later apologized for making the comment.

“We’re not remiss in our duty. We were preparing all the necessary documents since Monday for the filing of appropriate charges against the identified suspect,” Viñas said.

He said one of the things that slowed the police down was the delay in securing a copy of Levita’s death certificate.

Viñas said Major Julius Saluta, the commander of the Cagayan de Oro’s Police Precinct 2, had to wait for a copy of the death certificate first, the only document lacking until Friday.

“We wanted to make sure that all the documents were complete so as not to bungle the case,” he said.

Cagayan de Oro Mayor Rolando Uy on Friday went on air and urged Neri to turn himself in.

“He was already identified, and soon, he will be captured by the police. It would be better for Neri to surrender for his peace of mind, and so as not to aggravate his case,” Uy said.

The incident on the bridge in Taguanao in the village of Indahag prompted Uy to order the police and barangay officials to enforce the ordinance and go strict on loitering and drinking binges.

A councilor, James Judith, proposed raising the fine for violation of the ordinance from P1,500 to P10,000. 

Judith also asked that the ordinance’s imprisonment clause be amended so that violators could spend jail time of one month to six months at the court’s discretion. – Rappler.com

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