Laurel Mayor Randy James Amo and 10 others were tagged in the killing of a village chief and his wife on February 28, 2014 in Batangas.
Aside from Amo, the suspects were identified as PO2 Rolando Cabrera Rodriguez Jr. and PO3s Michael Grafil Rebato, Danilo Vingua Salvatierra Jr., and Raynald Ucol Siringan.
Also named were Benjamin Landicho, Reynold Amo, Montano Genil, Mark Amo, Rolando Rodriguez and Rene Talay.
Two witnesses said the victims —Nestorio Rodriguez and his wife Rosalina—had just visited Mayor Amo and were on their way home aboard a Mitsubishi L-200 pickup truck traveling along the highway in Barangay Gulod, Laurel, when the motorcycle-riding suspects—Mark and PO2 Rolando—allegedly hurled a grenade at them.
The couple died on the spot while their companions, Jimmy and Maximo Sarmiento, sustained serious injuries.
The Batangas Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) has requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct a preliminary investigation on the double murder and double frustrated murder case.
Police Chief Inspector Benjie Calapiz, assistant commander of the Special Investigation Task Group—Rodriguez told DOJ Prosecutor Claro Arrelano the witnesses believe the mayor allegedly got mad when his candidate lost to the victim in the recent barangay polls.
However, Amo strongly denied the allegations, saying he is not capable of murder.
“Magkumpare nga kami ni Kapitan Nestorio Rodriguez dahil inaanak ko ang anak niya sa kasal kaya hindi ko kayang gawin ang ibinibintang nila sa akin [I am the godfather of Nestorio’s son so I cannot be blamed for his murder],” he said in a phone interview.
Amo also questioned how the four cops were allegedly involved in the murder since they are studying elsewhere and do not live in the municipality.
“Ako pa nga ang nag request ng independent investigation para tulungan ang pamilyang Rodriguez, pagkatapos masasangkot pa ako ng hindi ko alam [I even requested an independent investigation to help the victims’ family so it puzzles me why I am included in the charges],” he added.
Amo said there appears to be a personal and political motive for his inclusion in the case and he is prepared to face the charges against him.