3 Arles murder suspects yield-A A +A
Friday, August 23, 2013
TO PROVE their innocence, three members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) linked to the April 24, 2012 ambush-slay of Kabankalan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Henry Arles voluntarily surrendered to Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Noppo) Director Milko Lirazan Thursday.
Jessie Daguia, Alejandro Capunong and Eddie Fortunado were accompanied by RPA-ABB leaders upon their surrender around 8:30 a.m., but said they are innocent of the accusations hurled against them. Court records showed that the three have pending warrants of arrest issued by Kabankalan RTC Judge Fernando Elumba, for the crime of murder and were consequently denied bail.
Police investigation showed that Arles was on his way home to Ilog town when he was gunned down.
"We are not guilty of the charges that is why we surrendered,” said Daguia.
Besides Daguia, Capunong and Fortunado, three other members of the RPA-ABB identified as Marvin Salve, Gerald Tabujara and Rustom Puro, as well as Ilog Municipal Government employee Emmanuel Medes -- who are also respondents in the murder charges -- are still at-large.
The surrenderees said they were convinced by their group called “‘Kapatiran” to surrender to the police. They had been apprehended by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) but were subsequently released as there was no arrest warrants.
The three also confessed to the killing, only to recant their statements later on, saying they were pressured by the NBI to come up with their affidavits.
Negotiating for surrender
RPA-ABB leader Gilbert Arsenal, alias “Ka Kenneth,” who accompanied the three, said they are also negotiating for the surrender of their three other colleagues.
But he pointed out that Puro, Salve, and Tabujara had indicated their willingness to surface, “should they see justice,” with the surrender of three of their companions.
Alan Gozon of the Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, who is helping by providing legal assistance to the six accused RPA-ABB members, said the respondents believed that the court is the proper venue for them to prove their innocence.
Lirazan, for his part, said with the surrender of the three they are now in the process of securing an order from the court to remit them to the Negros Occidental District Jail in Bago City, Negros Occidental.
He advised the other suspects in the killing of Arles to also surrender, and to face the charges filed against them.
The Department of Justice had earlier dismissed the murder complaint against former Negros Occidental Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez Jr., his son, Ilog Vice Mayor John Paul Alvarez and Cauayan Vice Mayor Jerry Tabujara, for the death of Arles, but not against the six RPA-ABB members and Medes. (Teresa D. Ellera and Merlina A. Pedrosa)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 23, 2013.