Police 'still facing blank wall' in BuCor lawyer slay probe

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) is "still facing a blank wall" in its probe into the killing of Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) top lawyer Fredric Santos a week after his death.

As of Wednesday February 26 – a week after Santos was gunned down in front of his daughter's school in Muntinlupa – the police have yet to find CCTV footage to aid their investigation and a motive for the crime, so they could not identify any persons of interest or suspects.

Police have also found no record of Santos reporting any threats to his life. Cops have not spoken with Santos’ family members as they were still grieving.

“So far, we're still facing a blank wall right now despite of the efforts, but we are not stopping the investigation to just end there. We will really push through with the investigation,” Muntinlupa police officer-in-charge Colonel Hermogenes Cabe said in an interview with Rappler.

As the legal division chief of the BuCor, Santos’ killing is the most high-profile investigation under the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) in recent months. He was a witness in the Senate hearing on the Good Conduct Time Allowance, which uncovered schemes of high-profile convicts paying off prison officials to "qualify" for release under the GCTA law, and was prepared to talk more before he was gunned down.

OFFICER-IN-CHARGE. Colonel Hermogenes Cabe is just a little over a week into leading the Muntinlupa City cops when Fredric Santos was gunned down. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

OFFICER-IN-CHARGE. Colonel Hermogenes Cabe is just a little over a week into leading the Muntinlupa City cops when Fredric Santos was gunned down.

Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler

What do cops know so far? Cops are currently looking at CCTV footage of Santos’ final time at the BuCor, when he was leaving the BuCor compound to pick up his daughter from school. He was killed that day.

Cabe said, however, that they found nothing “irregular” with the footage, as it only showed Santos driving out of the compound. Santos and his family lived in the BuCor reservation, he said.

The police crime lab determined that based on 5 bullet slugs recovered from the crime scene, 2 different guns were used in killing Santos, suggesting that there were 2 assassins.

The officer-in-charge called on witnesses and informants to step forward if they had any information that could help solve the case. So far, interviews of cops on the ground have not produced a consistent narrative.

Cabe noted that the police hopes to make progress as they have already created a task force with the BuCor to solve the case. Cabe himself sits in the meetings, while the BuCor has been sending its spokesman Gabby Chaclag, a former policeman, to attend the meetings. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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