THE Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday ordered the filing of three counts of murder and four counts of frustrated murder against Iligan Mayor Celso Regencia and eight others in connection with the ambush of the convoy of Rep. Vicente Belmonte in 2014.
In a 16-page resolution of the DOJ panel, aside from Regencia, also ordered charged with the same criminal complaint are Alfeo Arnoco, Amador Baller alias “Dongki,” police and bodyguards of Regencia identified as Peejay Capangpangan, Rogelio Pitos Sr. alias “Kim,” Rogelio Pitos Jr., Romeo Suganub alias “Loloy,” Julito Oros Ansad alias “Bino,” and Dodo Silvano.
However, the DOJ dismissed the complaint against the alleged gunman, Dominador Tumala, because he was placed under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) after admitting his participation in the crime.
The DOJ gave weight to the extra-judicial confession of Tumala who admitted that he is a former member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and had participated in the crime.
Tumala even pointed to the investigators the cockpit arena owned by “Dongki” in Tambo, Iligan City where the ambush was allegedly planned during a meeting.
He claimed that during that meeting, Mayor Regencia was present, and he allegedly gave the final briefing about the target.
He added that politics motivated the ambush because Regencia has plans to run for congressman of Iligan City.
Three people were killed and three others were wounded, including Belmonte, when armed men ambushed the convoy of the congressman while his convoy was traveling on the airport road in Barangay Gasi Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental on Dec. 11, 2014. (pna)