HOURS after Mark Vincent Garalde was buried on Tuesday, former Army reservist Vhon Martin Tanto was charged with murder and frustrated murder at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
It took DOJ prosecutors only a few hours to conduct a preliminary investigation. The case was immediately submitted for resolution because Tanto’s lawyer opted not to file a counter affidavit.
The investigation was handled by Assistant Prosecutors Robert Ong, Honey Delgado and Jeanette Dacpano.
Trixie Angeles, Tanto’s legal counsel, explained that she will present her client’s defense before the court.
The DOJ is expected to issue a resolution within 15 days.
Policemen escorted Tanto from his detention cell at the Manila Police District (MPD) on United Nations Avenue to the nearby DOJ building on Padre Faura Street.
Senior Inspector Rommel Anicete, head of the Manila Police District Homicide Section, said the filing of charges against Tanto was postponed because there was no lawyer to represent him on Saturday.
The inactive Army reservist was arrested in Masbate on July 29, four days after he killed Garalde during a traffic altercation in Quiapo, Manila.
Garalde was laid to rest yesterday morning at Loyola Memorial Park in Marikina City.
Before the funeral, a Mass was offered at Quiapo Church led by Fr. Marvin Cruz, and attended by relatives, friends, and cyclists. The funeral convoy passed P. Casal Street. where Garalde was shot dead.
Tanto’s wife Aneesha said the family of Rocell Bondoc, the teenager hit by a stray bullet, declined the financial help that they offered.
Aneesha said Bondoc’s aunt, Rowena Dungca told her that she needs the money more than Rocell because Tanto is behind bars and unable to provide for his family.
“She said they have received more than enough financial assistance for Rocell,” Aneesha told reporters.
Aneesha said she was able to sell a property and borrowed some cash.
On Tuesday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd personally handed P25,000 in financial assistance to Mrs. Garalde. The same amount will be given to Bondoc. The money came from Aquirre’s own pocket and from his brothers in Lex Taliones fraternity.
In a related development, Manila Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada ordered MPD Director Joel Napoleon Coronel to ensure a watertight case against Tanto.
“I have ordered our police investigators to build a strong case, a watertight case, against Tanto to ensure that justice will be served. We will ensure that he will be punished accordingly and face the full consequences of his action,” the mayor said.
Estrada also asked Coronel to check on the civilian informant or informants who tipped Army intelligence agents on the whereabouts of Tanto that led to his arrest.
“We must reward the efforts of those who helped in the capture of the suspect and put this case to rest,” Estrada said.
“We will not renege on our promise to reward the informant. We offered the reward precisely to encourage the public to help our law enforcement units solve cases like this.”