By JOEY NACALABAN and LITO RULONA
A BROTHER of slain University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) president Ricardo Rotoras on Monday expressed dismay over the way the police handled the murder case, adding that he suspected a cover-up.
Eldie Rotoras said this even as his family and the USTP community remembered the brutal killing of the academic outside his home in Upper Carmen in the week hours of Dec. 2, 2017.
The elder Rotoras said his family remained unsatisfied with the police work on the murder case, adding that it looked to him that “somebody did a cover-up.” He did not elaborate.
“Grabe one year na wala pa gyud silay klaro nga suspetsado. Kanang ilang nadakpan kunohay sa nga gunman didto sa Manila sure gyud ko di na mao,” he said.
He also criticized police investigators who, he said, were reluctant in giving his family information.
He said the alleged gunman, Johnreal Abel Gumanay, who was arrested in Makati in January, had a standing warrant of arrest for the killing of a politician in Misamis Occidental.
The elder Rotoras noted that Gumanay was ordered arrested by a court long before the shooting death of his brother.
He said his family has long asked the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to look into all angles so as to identify the mastermind.
“Gisultian man lang ko nila nga they are still bactracking pero sa una pa na. Nag-usa nalang katuig wala man gihapon,” Rotoras said. “Gi-kontra nako ilang declaration that the case is already closed. Dili ingon ana kasayon because they are like washing their own hands sa ilang pagpasa sa kaso sa korte. We told them nga ang tanan nga ana-a sa palibot ang mahimo nga person of interest.”
Cagayan de Oro City Police Office spokesman Supt. Mardi Hortillosa said, “Kung ang pamilya wala ma-satisfied sa gibuhat sa kapolisan wala nami mahimo pero rest assured wala gyud mi miundang sa pagpangitag pamaagi nga muabot gyud mi sa kinatumyan sa kasulbaran.”
Hortillosa said the Rotoras case is considered by the police as a solved case with the arrest of Gumanay, but not closed.
He said the suspected gunman was already identified, arrested, and charged.
Hortillosa said the police have yet to identify the mastermind because Gumanay has refused to cooperate.
Efforts, he said, were being made to get more information from Gumanay in the hope of identifying the mastermind.
“Mao bitaw nahibaw-an nga dunay siyay napatay dinhi sa dakbayan kay misulti man kini siya during his arrest. However, karon dili na siya mo-istorya og dili na pud pwede siya nga pugson,” he said.
Hortillosa said a murder case has already been filed against Gumanay in connection with the Rotoras murder, and no bailbond was recommended. He said they were waiting for the hearing to start.
“The city prosecutors reviewed it. In the case of Gumanay, nay lig-on nga evidence,” he said.
Hortillosa said the widow of Rotoras, Zarah Lyn, signed and approved the filing of the case against Gumanay. But he said other family members wanted to file a case only after the mastermind has been identified.
Hortillosa said a witness identified Gumanay at the Laguindingan airport.
“Gitudlo gyud siya sa witness,” he said.
The witness, according to Hortillosa, is now in the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice.