POLICE filed on Monday, November 27, a string of criminal cases against the suspected gunman in the killing of Ermita, Cebu City barangay captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta.
Superintendent Reynaldo Magdaluyo, Regional Special Operations Group-Central Visayas chief, filed murder and attempted murder cases against Jimmy Largo before the Office of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor.
The police also filed separate cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and violation of the illegal drugs law against Largo before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
The city and provincial prosecutors elevated the cases to court after Largo opted not to undergo preliminary investigation.
Rupinta was ambushed past 9 p.m. last November 23 in Barangay Yati, Liloan, Cebu.
Salvador Solima, the victim’s family lawyer, said the police are still preparing to file separate charges against Largo’s cohorts, who number about six people.
Solima believes that their evidence is enough to convict Largo.
The 41-year-old Largo, however, maintained his innocence. The resident of V. Rama St. in Barangay Guadalupe said he is ready to face all the cases lodged against him.
He insisted that a village official, who is identified with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, was the mastermind.
In the charge sheet, the police cited the claim of Rupinta’s common-law wife, Jocilyn Mendoza, to support the case against Largo.
Evidence against Largo
Mendoza told police that Winfredo Miro, the former market administrator, and his associates--one Cheche Sipalay-Gomez, who is reportedly the president of Cebu Vendors’ Association, and Largo--“might have orchestrated” the ambush-slay of Rupinta.
Mendoza cited the “long-standing feud” between Rupinta and Miro for the control of the vendors’ group at the Carbon Public Market.
A suggestion was also made to turn Largo into a state witness, but that was dismissed outright by Senior Superintendent Jonathan Cabal as Largo allegedly had a direct participation in the crime.
“He must be the least guilty,” said Cabal, the Police Regional Office Central Visayas-Regional Intelligence Division chief.
The police official denied that Largo is a fall guy, saying they have strong evidence against the suspect and they did not hastily arrest him.
Largo, Cabal said, was identified by a witness as one of the four gunmen.
Police have recovered other evidence, including a motorcycle that the suspect may have used as a getaway vehicle.
Largo had packed his bag when the police caught him last Friday night. Operatives recovered a shirt that the suspect may have worn during the ambush.
The empty shells and slugs found in the crime scene in Liloan were submitted to the crime laboratory for cross-examination with the Ingram sub-machine pistol loaded with 11 bullets and .45 pistol with five bullets recovered from Largo.
A fragmentation hand grenade and two packs of shabu were also seized from Largo.
Cabal said Largo’s statement to reporters about a politician who approached him about killing Rupinta can be used in the investigation, a lead that may lead them to the mastermind. He also believes the three other cohorts of Largo are still in Cebu.
For his part, Cebu City Police Office Director Joel Doria said he has not received reports that there are other barangay captains who were threatened. (SunStar Cebu)