Mayor denies link in judge's murder-A A +A
Monday, July 30, 2012
ILOG Mayor John Paul Kho Alvarez said he is innocent of allegations that he masterminded the killing of Kabankalan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Henry Arles last April 23.
Alvarez said during a media interview in Bacolod City Sunday that he was surprised to learn through media reports that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed the murder case against him and eight other alleged suspects before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila.
Until Sunday, Alvarez said he has not received any copy of the said case filed against him.
“Your conscience will bother you for dragging my name in the case. You know that I am innocent,” Alvarez said, adding that he does not know the other suspects named by the NBI on the killing of Arles.
He also clarified that he continues to perform his duties and functions as mayor of Ilog and that he still regularly reports to his office in the Municipal Hall, debunking reports that he allegedly already escaped and fled from the province.
The mayor said the NBI never went to Ilog and got his side.
He branded the case as politically motivated and may have something to do with the P1.2-million reward money offered for the capture of the suspects in the Arles murder.
Alvarez refused to issue further statements, per advice of his lawyer.
Lawyer Ferdinand Lavin, NBI Bacolod head, named the other suspects as Emmanuel Medes, Gerard Tabujara, Marvin Salve, Vincent Capunong, Jessie Daguia, Eddie Fortunado, and a certain Jane Doe.
The NBI requested for the conduct of preliminary investigation by the DOJ on the murder case. If they determine a probable cause and file the information or case before the court, the court will issue a warrant of arrest.
Under the investigation of the NBI, Mayor Alvarez appeared to be the mastermind in the killing and Salve appeared to be the coordinator or organizer of the group of suspects.
The suspects are believed to be members of a gun-for-hire group and were members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA-ABB). The gruesome act was not sanctioned by the organization but a result of personal workings.
Lavin said Fortunado testified that the mayor and Salve had several meetings concerning the killing of Judge Arles.
They believe that Judge Arles, through his son lawyer Albert Arles who is connected with the Ombudsman, had something to do with the anti-graft charges filed against Alvarez for which the Sandiganbayan issued a warrant of arrest against the mayor and the other accused in that case, Lavin said.
It was an old case that concerns the purchase of a Pajero that merited a case before the Ombudsman.
The accused believed that Arles had a hand in following up the anti-graft case filed against the mayor through his son who is connected with the Ombudsman, the NBI said.
Lavin said the gunmen were paid to kill Judge Arles.
The suspects were nabbed last June 23, 2012, in Bacolod for another case — illegal possession of firearms.
They were brought to Manila for custody and after the evaluation of the case, the NBI recommended the filing of the murder case against the suspects.
Fortunado testified that he was paid P75,000; Capunong received P30,000; and Daguia received P81,000 to kill Judge Arles. That payment is only for the three suspects.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 30, 2012.