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PAYING RESPECTS. Students and workers pay their respects to murdered University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines president Ricardo Rotoras at the USTP gym where the body of late academic was brought yesterday. Rotoras would be laid to rest at the Geenhills cemetery in Bulua tomorrow. At left, Rotoras’s wife Zarah Lyn views the remains of her husband at the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes on Monday. The National Bureau of Investigation has stepped in and is working to solve the case. (photos by nitz arancon)

Probers fail to seal off Rotoras’ office

THERE has been no serious effort to preserve any document or any vital information inside the office of murdered University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines president Ricardo Rotoras.

At presstime, Dr. Rotoras’s office was neither sealed nor secured by the police or the National Bureau of Investigation that has been ordered by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday to handle the murder case.

Asked if the police or the now defunct Special Investigation Task Force Rotoras sealed or secured the slain USTP president’s office, city police spokesperson Chief Insp. Mardy Hortillosa said he was still uncertain.

“I’m not sure,” Hortillosa said.

Later in the afternoon, Hortillosa said the investigators told him that Rotoras’s office was locked, and none of them were able to get inside. He also said the police no longer sent officers to guard the office because the management of USTP, supposedly, has already secured it.

Supt. Lemuel Gonda, Camp Alagar spokesman, said he was also “unsure” if Rotoras’s office was secured or sealed by investigators.

But Gonda said no police investigation protocol was breached even if Rotoras’s office was left unprotected by the police because “it’s not the crime scene.”

Rotoras was shot several times and killed by gunmen as he was about to enter his house at Golden Glow-North subdivision in Upper Carmen shortly past midnight on Saturday.

Chief Insp. Hortillosa said it was possible that there were documents or vital information or pieces of evidence inside Rotoras’s USTP office.

Hortillosa said if the office was never sealed or secured, investigators would try to find out if there were people who went inside Rotoras’s office after he was killed, identify them, and determine their purpose.

It remains unclear if there was ever an order from the USTP administration to secure Rotoras’s office.

Glenn Reyes, Rotoras’s executive assistant, said he was unsure if the murdered university president’s office was secured by the institution’s administration.

Initially, Reyes said, Rotoras’s office was being secured and no one was allowed to go inside. But when this paper asked where the order came from, Reyes said he was already “unsure.”

Gold Star Daily checked yesterday afternoon. Four days after the killing, there was neither a police line nor anyone standing on guard outside Rotoras’s office.

Most people were in the gym where Rotoras’s body was brought from the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes.

There were men in military fatigue uniforms spread across the campus but no one was securing Rotoras’s office. (herbie gomez with a report from cong corrales)


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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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