By NITZ ARANCON
with SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
THE chairman of the city council’s police committee yesterday expressed disappointment on the way authorities have handled the investigation into the Dec. 2, 2017 shooting death of University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines president Ricardo Rotoras, saying he feared that it would turn into a cold case.
Neither have investigators identified the brains behind the murder nor have they established the motive for the killing of Dr. Rotoras outside his uptown Cagayan de Oro home, noted Councilor Romeo Calizo.
“We fear that the investigation would die a natural death,” said Calizo who heads of the committee on police, fire and public safety of the city council.
He called on the police to exert more effort to bring closure to the Rotoras case, adding that the initial results of the investigation into the December murder were inconclusive.
Despite the police’s assertion that they caught one of the gunmen who attacked Dr. Rotoras and charged him, Calizo said there were still many unanswered questions and so, “dili pa matawag nga 100 percent nga sulbad na ang pagkamatay ni Rotoras.”
Calizo said he was worried that the investigation was leading nowhere and that the Rotoras family won’t see justice.
Another councilor, Leon Gan, also expressed dismay over the slow pace of the investigation into the murder case.
“Dismayado gyud ta kay ang sagad mahitabo, nga kon madugay pagsulbad ang usa ka krimin, malimtan kadugayan,” Gan said.
But Gan said he was aware that criminal investigation is a difficult task. He cited the failure of the government to identify the mastermind and the motive behind the Aug. 21, 1983 assassination of former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. at the tarmac of the airport now named after him.
Gan stressed the need for solid evidence to build a strong case against the mastermind, and witnesses.
Cocpo spokesman Supt. Mardy Hortillosa said police have not identified the Rotoras murder mastermind until now although the suspected gunman was caught and charged.
Rotoras’s elder brother Eldie earlier criticized investigators even as he questioned the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office for stating that the murder case was considered closed following the arrest of alleged gunman Johnreal Abel Gumanay in Makati in January.
Gumanay was arrested because of a court warrant issued in connection with a 2016 murder of former Ozamiz vice mayor Rolando Romero. Police subsequently linked him to the Rotoras murder, accusing him to be the triggerman.
On Tuesday, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito echoed calls for justice for Rotoras as he spoke during the USTP’s commencement exercises at the Limketkai Atrium here.
Ejercito said he and Rotoras had worked for higher subsidy for state colleges and universities since 2011.
“I feel sad. He was with me. We both worked for free higher education. That is why I wanted to be here to pay tribute to Dr. Rotoras who worked very hard with passion,” said Ejercito.
Ejercito called on authorities to bring the people behind the Rotoras murder to justice.