Police authorities in the province said they are establishing evidence linking the New People’s Army (NPA) to the shooting of Rizal town employee Engr. Gregorio Baluyut on November 20, even as the NPA has already admitted to the killing.
P/Col. Nicolas Torre, acting chief of Palawan Provincial Police Office (PPO), clarified they have already been working on the NPA-angle as part of their investigation.
“Nakikita naman natin na sa ganyang mga anggulo, hindi trabaho yan. Talaga namang may mga ganoong anggulo tayong tinitinggnan,” Torre said.
The armed rebel group, in a statement, claimed to be behind the killing of Baluyut, 56, the coordinator of the municipal planning office of Rizal town.
Baluyut was shot and killed by an unidentified assailant who barged inside his residence in Purok Mahogany in the village of Punta Baja on November 20.
The police, in its initial criminal investigation, linked Baluyut’s murder to the “liquidation squad” of the NPA in the province, citing that he was usually seen hosting police and military officers in his residence during community outreach projects in Rizal.
However, Torre said that the investigation is still being undertaken to establish strong evidence on the case.
“Hindi natin tatapusin ang paghahanap ng ebidensiya tungkol diyan. Kontratang hindi natupad, pangakong hindi natupad, pera, trabaho at saka mga personal, interpersonal relation,” Torre said.
The police authorities, however, brushed off the allegation made by the armed rebel group that claimed that Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez was linked to the ambush-slay of private lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit.
P/Col. Nicolas Torre, who is also the commander of the special investigation task group Magcamit, on Sunday said that the allegations made by the NPA’s Bienvenido Vallever Command (BVC) in Palawan have “no probative value”, pointing out that “they know the truth”.
“Alam naman namin ang katotohanan. Piece of paper lang ang tingin namin d’yan sa kanilang sinasabi, walang probative value, it’s not an evidence that can stand in court,” Torre said.
This, after the rebel group in a statement, said that Alvarez was behind the Magcamit slay to “incite fear” among the locals who went up against his “personal desires”.
“Kanyang nililinlang ang mga mamamayan hinggil sa patayan na siya ang may kagagawan kung saan nagdudulot ito ng takot sa ating mga kababayan upang maging sunud-sunuran sa kanyang mga personal na hangarin. Lingid sa ating mga kababayan na may galit si JCA kay Magcamit dahil sa nalalapit nitong tagumpay sa pagtatanggol ni Atty. Magcamit sa lupa ng kanyang kliyente,” the statement from NPA-BVC said.
Torre however clarified that the Magcamit case is still not considered a “solved case”, after only three out of nine respondents were named on the criminal charge filed.
“Hindi pa natin kinukonsidera na solve na ang case ni Magcamit. Kahit sumuko na ang sinasabi nating mastermind, ay wala namang pag-amin sa side niya,” Torre added.
On November 24, Police Senior Master Sergeant Ariel Pareja, Jazer del Rosario, Marcelino Quioyo, and six other John Does were charged by the local police officers with murder.
Quioyo was reported to have surrendered to the authorities because of “fear of his life”.
“Hindi naman umaamin ang sumuko. Sumuko lang naman siya dahil siya ay natatakot sabi niya sa kanyang kaligtasan. Tuloy pa rin ang ating imbestigasyon, inaalam natin kasi hanggang ngayon wala pa ring umaamin na gunman, except na ito may nagtuturo na rin na NPA na nagsasabi na ito, sila ang may kagagawan,” Torre said.
The statement from the BVC was forwarded to the intelligence group for verification.
“Ang letter na ‘yan ay pinadala ko na sa intelligence group natin para ma-verify. May repository tayo ng mga ganyang impormasyon. Malalaman natin kung sila nga talaga ang may gawa. May mga tao lang na gustong sumali sa imbestigasyon at mangulo lang, dahil nakikita nga nila na may direksyon na ang ating imbestigasyon, ginugulo na lang tayo dito,” Torre said.