Police looking at money, insurance claims as motive in Japanese murders

Following the filing of murder charges against a Japanese national and five locals before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday, Coron Police Chief Thirz Starky Timbanca said in a press conference today, June 5, that money, business partnership and insurance fraud are possible motives behind the killing of two Japanese tourists namely Itani Masaru 59 and Arai Yoshihiru 24 in Culion, Palawan last May 30.

“Umikot lang ito sa usapin ng, pera at saka po insurance,” he said.

Timbancaya added that they are looking at the possibility that Nagahama is connected to the Japanese syndicate Yakuza.

Hiroyuki Nagahama, speaking in Nihonggo, denied his involvement in the killing when he was presented by authorities to the media.

Hindi ho, hindi daw sya involved, Hindi daw sya nanggaling sa crime scene, at hindi daw siya pumatay [No, I am not involved, I did not go to the crimescene and I did not kill anyone,” Reynante Labampa, co-accused and serving as secretary/interpreter of Nagahama, said.

Both Nagahama and Labampa were charged with double murder along with Sonny Anicete alyas Tatan, Alyas Jovic Viscara, Alyas Bando and Alyas Jhun. Except for Nagahama and Labampa, the other suspects are still at-large.

Palawan Provincial Police Director Col. Gabriel Lopez said they are still conducting manhunt against the other suspects and collecting additional evidence.

Hanggang ngayon, hinahanap pa din ang katawan ng tao at saka yung bangka na ginamit,” Lopez also said that based on testimonies of boatmen Michael Suangco and Aladin Moheran, Nagahama ordered them to sink to boat to dispose possible evidences.

As of press time, some of the evidences gathered included empty shells, blood stain and the slippers of the victims.

Meanwhile, Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez said that this is an isolated case and tourists are still safe to visit the province.

Very isolated case, Japanese tourist must still continue to come,” Alvarez said.

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