THE Department of Justice has approved the filing of murder and frustrated murder charges against Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia and eight others including several “John Does” in connection with the ambush against Iligan Representative Vicente “Varf” Belmonte last December 2014.
It can be recalled that Belmonte and his convoy were attacked by armed men along the Laguindingan Airport access road in Barangay Gasi, Laguindingan town in Misamis Oriental resulting to the death of three of Belmonte’s companions namely, PO3 Mark Andres, Eustaquio Silawan and France Ian Dumaguing.
In the 16-page resolution approved by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, among those recommended to be charged of three counts of murder and four counts of frustrated murder are: Regencia, Alfeo Arnoco, Amador “Dongki” B. Baller, Rogelio “Kim” Pitos Sr., Rogelio Pitos Jr., Romeo “Loloy” Suganub, Peejay Capangpangan, Julito “Bino” Oros Ansad, Dodo Silvano and several John Does.
The justice department found probable cause to indict the accused.
Meanwhile, the DOJ panel of prosecutors lead by Assistant State Prosecutor Olivia Torrevillas recommended the dismissal of the complaint against Dominador Tumala who is now a government witness.
In his extrajudicial confession dated January 19, 2015, Tumala confessed to be one of the gunmen in the incident. He also pointed to Regencia as the mastermind of the crime.
The panel also averred that the testimony of Belmonte that a group of armed men blocked his convoy was corroborated by the testimony of Tumala.
The confessions made by Tumala concerning the circumstances of the ambush incident were also corroborated by the testimony of other witnesses such the use of four M-16 rifles and a carbine in the killing, and that on December 9, 2014, Regencia was seen in the farmhouse of Baller where the planning of the ambush incident happened.