Puerto Princesa City police investigators have identified a suspect in last week’s ambush shooting of lawyer Hermie Aban following the testimony of an eyewitness who identified the alleged killer.
PINSP Rey Aron Elona, spokesperson of Task Force Aban, said that the suspect, identified as Reymart “Nonoy” Cariaga, was arrested Friday, August 18, but they withheld confirming his identity while they were conducting additional investigation.
Cariaga was nabbed on Nadayao road while driving a motorbike along with a certain Mark Gil Biaco.
Elona said the unidentified witness saw the suspect right before the shooting happened and had executed an affidavit pointing to him as the assailant.
“Nung nag-execute na yung witness natin, sa tulong ng family ni Atty. Aban, na-confirm natin na sya rin yung suspect sa insidente,” said Elona.
Police said the witness had alerted them when he saw the suspect for a second time, prompting authorities to conduct a search operation that led to the suspect’s arrest on Friday afternoon on Nadayao Road, Barangay San Pedro.
Cariaga, who police said has a pending case for frustrated murder filed in 2003, was arrested while driving a black scooter motorcycle, allegedly the same vehicle that was used by the riding gunmen.
Police were also able to confiscate from Cariaga a hand grenade while Biaco allegedly had a sachet of white crystalline powder believed to be shabu.
In an interview last Friday, Cariaga denied that he was involved in the shooting of Atty. Aban.
“Wala akong alam. Kilala ko siya, sa pangalan lang, bilang attorney, yun lang,” said Cariaga.
Following the incident, with the help of CCTV footage and through the help of Aban’s family in convincing witnesses to testify, police said an eyewitness who was at the actual crime scene also identified Cariaga as the suspect.
“Yung witness na nag-identify sa kanya (Cariaga), ay andun talaga sa crime scene. Nagkatinginan pa daw sila kaya natandaan niya lahat – feature ng mukha, katawan, pati yung motor na gamit ng suspek,”said Elona.
Cariaga was brought to the Tandikan Jail near the City PNP in Bgy. San Pedro and was scheduled for a drug test pending the filing of murder charges. Police said he will also face charges for illegal possession of explosives.
Biaco, on the other hand, will also face charges for illegal possession of prohibited drugs.
PINSP Elona said that the investigation would not stop unless the other suspects involved in Aban’s shooting are also apprehended.
“Hindi lang naman siya ang gumawa, so under investigation pa din kung sino ang nag-utos sa kanila,” said Elona.