Formal charges have been filed against the two policemen tagged in the death of two female preachers of Jesus Is Lord (JIL) Movement in Balete town in Batangas on August 6.
Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) chief Persida Rueda-Acosta said that, two-counts of murder and two-counts of rape were filed at the Provincial Prosecutors Office against Police Officer (PO) 3 Jose Rico Benitez and PO2 Mhelven Pagkaliwangan, both assigned at the mobile patrol unit of Balete police station.
Acosta, who assisted the kins of the victims in filing the case, said PO3 Benitez and PO2 Pagkali-wangan were positively identified by witnesses as the alleged killers of preachers Adelaida Fabricante, 46, and Leonila Cafe, 48.
An earlier report released by the Balete police said that Fabricante and Cafe were hit-and-run victims when their bodies were found sprawled dead along the barangay road in Barangay Makina on August 6 at around 8:30 p.m.
However, Mayor Jovencio Hidalgo of Balete ordered a reinvestigation on the case when thousands of residents in their town rallied in front of the municipal hall last week, condemning the brutal death of Fabricante and Cafe.
“Several witnesses volunteered to give their statements linking the two cops in the death of the two female preachers” Hidalgo said.
Hidalgo added that the two victims had just come from a JIL prayer meeting in Barangay Magape when they decided to ride the police car going home to their respective barangays.
In a re-autopsy conducted by PAO doctors, the victims died from a head injury caused by a blatant object. Signs of sexual abuse were also seen in the remains of the victims.
A preliminary investigation has been set on Tuesday (August 27) for the two policemen who vehemently denied the accusations against them.
Meanwhile, the two suspects have already been disarmed and are now confined at Camp Miguel Malvar in Batangas City.