Police says Jap murders now considered “case closed”

Sonny “Tatan” Anicete is presented to the media

The Philippine National Police has declared the investigation on the murder of two Japanese nationals in May last year “case closed” following the arrest last week of Sonny “Tatan” Anicete, leader of the Palawan-based Commando Brotherhood Association.

Anicete, who was nabbed by police operatives in Tarlac, was presented to the media by Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez. Alvarez said Anicete will join the other suspects in the ongoing trial of the case.

“Bilang ama ng lalawigan, pini-present namin si Tatan Anicete sainyo hindi dahil siya ay proven guilty. Siya ay haharap sa husgado at sila ay malilitis. Ang husgado ang magpapasya,” Alvarez said.

“Considered na natin as case closed ito. Pero magpapatuloy pa rin ang prosecution ng kaso,” Provincial PNP Director Gabriel Lopezsaid.

Anicete broke to tears when asked by reporters to reply to allegations of witnesses about his role in the murder of the two Japanese nationals, who according to police investigators, were shot dead in an island in Culion before being dismembered and thrown to the sea.

He pointed out to the Japanese national Hiruyuki Nagahama, the alleged mastermind in the killing, as the person behind the crime and claimed he himself was a victim.

“Na biktima kami ng hapon. Nagasgas ko ang pangalan ng probinsya dahil sa konting kamaliang nagawa ko dahil hindi naman talaga ako ang salarin. Biktima rin ako, hindi ako ang nang-biktima,” Anicete said.

He said he decided to flee after the incident “kasi ayaw ko sanang mangyari sa buhay ko itong ganitong sitwasyon,”

“Kung ano man ang nagawa kong kamalian, patawarin ninyo ako. Sorry,” Anicete said.

He also denied knowing Nagahama, saying “hindi ko kilala yan.”

Michael Songco. a government witness and owner of the boat used by the group of Nagahama during the incident, earlier told police investigators they threw the dismembered bodies of the victims on the sea while they were on their way to El Nido from Culion.

Atty. Tedoro Jose Matta of the Palawan Legal Office said they will treat Anicete’s pronouncement during the press conference as “confidential” since he was not represented by a counsel.

“Nag-usap kami but these are with confidentiality. I cannot speak for him, Mas mabuti pang mag-konsulta muna siya sa abogado bago siya magsalita,”Matta said.

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