TUGUEGARAO CITY: Criminal charges were filed against the suspected killers of Gonzaga town mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr., the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Sunday.
Cagayan Valley Chief Superintendent Miguel Laurel said besides murder, the PNP also filed “robbery and arson charges” before the local prosecutor’s office against the suspects.
Laurel said David Soriano and Rolando Ibis, who were earlier tagged as very high-ranking New People’s Army leaders in Cagayan, were among those charged.
Soriano alias Colly and Ibis alias Pearson were identified as the killers based on the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed at the Gonzaga town hall premises.
Pentecostes, 60, was shot to death by two of the eight Armalite-wielding men in Army uniform while leading flag raising rites at about 8 a.m.
Reports said the two attackers identified in the CCTV were among the more than 30 armed men who stormed the town hall grounds as well as ransacked the municipal office building.
As a getaway vehicle, the attackers also took one of the town’s police patrol cars which was later recovered by pursuing joint army and police operatives in the town’s remote Iska village.
Reports said the patrol car, along with three other getaway vehicles, however, was totally burned when the authorities recovered them in the area.
Laurel said the regional police office has considered the case as “solved” with the identification of some of the suspects in the killing and the eventual filing of charges against them.
He said that whatever the motive is,”the bottom line remains one and the same – the New People’s Army did it.”
“Thus, it is now up for the court to determine the circumstances and motives surrounding the killing,” Laurel said.
Citing “espionage,” NPA West Cagayan Command has admitted responsibility in the killing accusing the mayor for giving aid to the military in their operations against them.
Reports said the NPA claimed that espionage was the slain mayor’s major offense against the underground movement.