By NITZ ARANCON
and JOEY NACALABAN
MAYOR Oscar Moreno has asked city police director Senior Supt. Nelson Aganon to make the Rotoras murder case a priority and to bring those responsible for the Dec. 2, 2017 shooting death of the academic to justice.
Moreno said this even as the spokesman of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office, Supt. Mardy Hortillosa, maintained that the case is considered solved with the arrest and the murder complaint filed against suspected gunman Johnreal Abel Gumanay in January.
But only Hortillosa, speaking on behalf of Cocpo, is saying that the case is already solved. He is the same police official who earlier declared the Rotoras murder a closed case following the arrest of the suspected gunman in Makati.
Moreno however said the case is unsolved.
“I have manifested my deep concern to Aganon, when he made a courtesy call on me last week, regarding the Rotoras case. [I] told him that I still consider the case unsolved,” said Moreno.
Moreno is not alone. Senate President Aquilino Martin Pimentel III also considers the case unsolved, and he has written the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) so it would speed up its work on the Rotoras case.
Pimentel’s sister and assistant chief of staff Terelou said the Senate President asked the NBI to expedite its investigation, and identify and arrest the mastermind and the hitmen.
Ms. Pimentel said her brother’s letter was sent to the NBI in response to the appeal of the widow of Dr. Ricardo Rotoras and organized students of the state-owned University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines.
Alex Cabornay, deputy director of the NBI in northern Mindanao, said the Rotoras murder is not considered a closed case by the Bureau.
Cabornay said that while the police have charged a suspected gunman before the city prosecutor’s office, the NBI has continued its investigation in the hope of catching the mastermind.
He noted that Rotoras’s widow has signed a complaint against the Gumanay.
But Cabornay said, “Wala namo gi-close kay kami nagtoo nga aduna man gyuy mastermind ana nga maoy nag-hire o nagsugo sa gunman.”
He said the NBI was working to figure out what really happened and has been looking at the Rotoras case in its entirety.
He said investigators have been working on collected statements and pieces of evidence such as slugs, bullets, empty shells, and a ladder.
Cabornay said what is missing is a person who could provide a link between the pieces of evidence and Rotoras’s killers.
He said the absence of witnesses with useful information have been slowing down the investigation.
Moreno said he understands the challenges confronting investigators.
“Although na-a nay mga development na, pero na-a pa gihapoy angayan buhaton, and I hope, earnestly, nga ma-solve pa gihapon ang Rotoras case,” Moreno said.
Although still unsolved, Moreno commended the effort exerted by the Cocpo when Senior Supt. Robert Roy Bahian was the city police director.
“Dili sab ingon nga kon wala pa ma-solve ang maong kaso, maluya ang chief of police, dili ingon ana,” Moreno said.
But Supt. Hortillosa maintained that as far as Cocpo is concerned, the Rotoras case has already been solved when the police pressed charges against Gumanay, the suspected gunman.
According to Hortillosa, Gumanay admitted that he was responsible for killing someone in the city about the same time Rotoras was murdered outside his Golden Glow Subdivision home in Upper Carmen. But Hortillosa said Gumanay did not identify the person he supposedly killed.
Hortillosa said Gumanay was uncooperative to investigators and refused to give details.
Hortillosa said he understands if the Rotoras family and public are dissatisfied with the outcome of the police investigation.
“Kinahanglan man gyud among ma-satisfy ang pamilya apan ang problema kay ang nadakpan dili ga-cooperate. Di man gyud motug-an,” Hortillosa said.