By NITZ ARANCON
SENATE President Aquilino Martin Pimentel III and Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito have denied knowing the “prime person of interest” in the investigation into the Dec. 2, 2017 shooting death of University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines president Ricardo Rotoras.
The separate denials, made on Saturday and yesterday, came after the lawyer of detained architect Rey Galua said his client was with Pimentel and Ejercito in Marikina on Dec. 7, 2017, the day police officers claimed the the architect invited them to his uptown Cagayan de Oro home where they were supposedly shown guns. That supposed meeting was the basis of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in securing a search warrant against Galua from a Gingoog-based court.
Pimentel said he could neither confirm nor deny that Galua took his oath as a member of the administration PDP-Laban in December last year.
“Dili nako memorize ang dagway sa mga nag-take oath kay thousands na man ang mga nag-take sa PDP-Laban,” Pimentel said.
On Saturday, Sen. Ejercito denied on Twitter that he knows Galua.
Ubaub earlier said Galua met with Ejercito after the architect took his oath as a PDP-Laban member.
“I do not even know him. Why is he using me?” asked Ejercito in a response to blogger and lifestyle columnist Maria Irene Aserios’s tweet about this paper’s story on Galua’s lawyer’s claim that the two senators could corroborate his client’s contention that the CIDG “lied” in an affidavit and “misled” a judge into issuing a search warrant against the architect.
Aserio writes a lifestyle column for Gold Star Daily’s Urban Life section.
Reads Ejercito’s tweet: “Don’t know what he was talking about! Don’t even know him (Galua) at all. Rotoras was a very good man. Worked with him for years to increase (the) subsidy for state universities and colleges. Really sad when he was killed. He doesn’t (sic) deserve it.”
Pimentel said if Galua has photographs of the Dec. 7, 2017 PDP-Laban oathtaking and a copy of the party’s attendance sheet that day, then he can just submit these as his evidence.
“He should just use that (because) I have no personal knowledge on who took oath” on Dec. 7, 2017, said Pimentel.
He said this apparently in response to Ubaub’s pronouncement that the senators could be summoned to testify in favor of Galua.
Galua has been discharged from the Northern Mindanao Medical Center and was taken to the city jail in Barangay Lumbia where he awaits trial for two cases of illegal arms and explosives possession. He was arrested following a Jan. 9 raid that resulted in the discovery of a cache of firearms and grenades in his house.
Police called him the “prime person of interest” in the Rotoras murder case investigation given his participation in an unfinished P200-million construction project in the USTP and his ties with the slain Dr. Rotoras and the construction company behind the controversial project.