Palawan police authorities have identified “at least four persons of interest” in the killing of lawyer Eric Jay A. Magcamit in Narra on Tuesday.
P/Col. Dionisio Bartolome Jr., Palawan Provincial Police Office (PPO) director, in a press briefing on Friday morning, said criminal investigators are looking into whether the killing was work-related and if the persons of interest they have identified are potential suspects.
The Special Investigation Task Group Magcamit withheld the names of the persons of interest as the criminal investigation continues.
“The motive we are currently looking into is work-related. However, we remain open to pursuing other motives that may surface. Several persons of interest are currently being subjected to profiling to establish their backgrounds, records, and history which would lead to the eventual identification of the suspects. The investigation is also being done mainly on the motorcycle and the panel van that was used during the incident to identify and locate and establish the ownership,” Bartolome added.
Bartolome also vowed that “there will be no cover-up” on the case, denying speculations that a certain police officer was involved in the crime.
Bartolome also brushed aside reports alluding to the participation of an active duty policy officer in the crime, stating there is no policeman among their four identified persons of interest.
“Based on our records and evidence, currently, there is no member of the PNP from among our persons of interest,” he said.
“In the event that the allusion, once the evidence surface, and if evidence warrants, corresponding charges will be filed. There will be no cover-up on this case and supremacy of rule of law will be upheld,” Bartolome added.
Bartolome was apparently referring to city councilor Elgin Damasco, who in a Facebook post, said that a certain police officer harassed Magcamit on October 20.
“Sino kaya itong police na nanakot kay attorney noong October 20? May police pa na kumukuha ng video at larawan ni attorney. Bakit niya kaya ginawa iyon? Kaya hinatid si attorney sa Abo-abo mula Quezon sa sobrang takot ni attorney,” Damasco’s social media post read.
Lawyer Magcamit was on his way to court in Quezon town on Tuesday (November 17) when he was gunned down by two unidentified assailants as he was passing by the national highway in Sitio Caraniogan in the village of Malinao in Narra, Palawan. He was believed gearing to file a motion to dismiss in a grave coercion case involving a land dispute.
Joel Hermogenes, Magcamit’s client in Quezon town, in a separate phone interview, believed that the killing was related to the four cases that the private lawyer was handling, also pointing out to the harassment incident that transpired in October 20 after the court hearing. Magcamit is handling Hermogenes’s four cases against a certain Marcelino Quiyo including grave coercion, grave threat, malicious mischief, and violation of Republic Act (RA) 7610, or Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
“Kung para sa akin, talagang may kinalaman ‘yan sa kasong ‘yan kasi marami ng nangyari. October 20, last hearing na ipapa-dismiss na dahil wala ring sapat na katibayan, motion for dismissal. Nagtext siya sa misis ko na may pinapadalang papel na exhibit daw,” Hermogenes asserted.
Backing up his allegations, Hermogenes also said that his house was fired upon with at least 37 bullets in September 8.
“Wala na rin akong ibang kalaban. Noong pagbaril sa bahay ko September 8, 37 ang nakuha ng pulis na kapsula ng bala, 9 millimeter (mm) at calibre .45,” Hermogenes added.
Meanwhile, Prosecutor Ethel Alvarez-Magcamit, Magcamit’s wife, requested the public to send school supplies or hygiene kits instead of flowers, as Magcamit was preparing to send school supplies and toys to children in Barangay Rio Tuba in the southern town of Bataraza in Palawan.
The special investigation task group Magcamit, composed of Palawan Provincial Police Office (Palawan PPO), Narra Municipal Police Station (MPS), Quezon MPS, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), and PNP Crime Laboratory, declined to provide further information regarding the case as the criminal investigation continues.
Philippine National Police (PNP) regional director P/Gen. Pascual Muñoz also confirmed that a meeting between the police force and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Palawan chapter transpired on Thursday evening to discuss the assistance needed by the authorities in solving the case.
“Kasamahan nila si Atty. Magcamit so tutulong sila doon sa pagsolve ng case, kung ano man ang maibibigay nila sa amin na information makakatulong para masolve ang case na ito kasi kailangan maging fair tayo sa imbestigasyon,” Muñoz said.
(With reports from Romar Miranda, Arphil Ballarta, and Ruth Rodriguez)