Police file homicide charges vs ambushed lawyer

MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City police filed on Thursday, February 22, cases of illegal possession of firearms and homicide against the lawyer who survived last week an ambush in Quezon City and was able to shoot back and kill one of his assailants. 

QCPD Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar told Rappler on Friday, February 23, that they filed the two charges at the Quezon City prosecutors office against Argel Cabatbat who was ambushed on February 13.

Cabatbat's companions John Ramos, Ardee Llaneras, Rodel De La Cruz, and George Cabatbat were also charged with homicide.

Eleazar said the police's filing charges against Cabatbat was “procedural” because someone died in the incident.

Bahala na ang prosecutor mag-evaluate ng case,” he added. (It is up to the prosecutor to evaluate the case.)

Attackers riding two motorcycles waylaid Cabatbat's Montero on February 13. The lawyer was able to retaliate, killing suspect Mark Ayeras, who was later identified as a policeman on leave.

Cabatbat told reporters on Wednesday, February 21, that he was prepared to face charges against him as his actions were done in self defense.

Nagkataon lang talaga na may naiwan na baril doon,” Cabatbat said, referring to the gun he used to defend himself which he claims is his uncle’s. (It was a coincidence a gun was left in the car.)

He said he was prepared to present documents to prove ownership of the firearm. 

The mastermind 

Earlier, Cabatbat also filed an attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms complaints against doctor Mark Dennis Menguita, whom he said was the mastermind of the ambush.

Cabatbat said that prior to the ambush, he received threats, via phone calls, from persons claiming to be “representatives” of the doctor.

He also told reporters for the first time on Wednesday that prior to Ayeras' death, he was able to ask who was responsible for ambush, to which the suspect replied, "Nguita,” when he assumed referred to Menguita.

Another suspect identified as John Paul Napoles was injured after Cabatbat's vehicle rammed into the assailants' motorcyle. Cabatbat said he was considering going to the East Avenue Medical Center to convince Napoles to reveal who was the mastermind behind the ambush. 

The Quezon City Police District has filed a separate complaint against Napoles for attempted murder and illegal possesion of firearms. Another suspect is being hunted down. – Rappler.com