THE older brother of slain University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) president Dr. Ricardo Rotoras said Architect Rey Galua and his brother were "certainly friends".
In an interview, Eldie Rotoras said the whole Rotoras family is happy that authorities finally announced Galua as a person of interest in his brother's slay.
The older Rotoras also confirmed that the 43-year-old architect is also one of the family's suspects after the murder happened. He said Galua is one of the names they relayed to the authorities.
"Pero kung muingon ka ug person of interest, dili na ingon nga suspect gyud (But when you say person of interest, that does not necessarily equate to a suspect) duna bay hinungdan, kalambigitan, involvement (does he have reason or involvement), ato man gihangyo sa CIDG nga palapdan ang investigation, labina sa pagkuha sa mga anggulo so karon siguro nga dunay connection gamay, nadeklarar na gyud nila as person of interest (we requested the CIDG to investigate this to get all possible angles)," Eldie said.
He said Galua once headed the architecture program of USTP.
Rotoras said one of the reasons why Galua was considered person of interest was because he’d been involved with the projects at the university.
"Meaning, he is within the institution. Certainly, they are friends because Architect Galua kay siya man ang architect sa institution (he is the architect of the institution), diin kabahin sa disenyo kung unsa na karon ang USTP (he is part of the persons who designed the USTP)," he said.
"Public knowledge ni nga madunggan sa media, gipa-stop ni Dr. Rotoras ang proyekto. As to unsay reason nganu gipa-stop, wala ta kahibalo, dili ta kahibalo sa details (It is public knowledge that we hear in the media, that Dr. Rotoras stopped the project, but as to why, we do not know) kung duna bay involved nga anomaliya, duna bay involved sa pagsunod sa specifications sa proyekto, diha nato tan-awon kung naa ba gyud (if there are indeed anomalies, or does it involve following the project's specifications, we will see)," he said.
But what the older Rotoras knew is that his brother was "very strict", and that he did not want to get involved in possible anomalies, "much more be involved in graft and corrupt practices act".
If anyone has "bad blood" against his brother, he said those persons are possibly involved in any illegal practices and who refused to listen to Dr. Rotoras' order to stop the malpractices.
Through a court order, operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Cagayan de Oro City (CIDG-CDOC) raided and searched the house of Galua, a resident of Pueblo de Oro Golf Estate, Upper Canitoan, Cagayan de Oro City last Monday.
Authorities found and seized from the suspect’s bedroom two caliber .45 pistols, a 9mm Glock, a .38 revolver, two fragmentation grenades, two magazines of an Armalite assault rifle, and several live ammunition.
It was only yesterday that police confirmed that Galua was indeed person of interest into the December 2017 killing of the state university president.
"We're happy with the development, and we hope authorities will be able to find out if the architect indeed had something to do with my brother's murder. We hope and pray that they will see the missing link," he said.
Digging further into their previous connection
Few days after his arrest, the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) has established Galua as one of the persons of interest in the murder of the USTP president.
And with this development, investigators are now digging into what kind of connection Galua and the late Rotoras previously had.
SITG spokesperson Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa II declined to explain how Galua became a person of interest in the murder case.
But, Hortillosa said the SITG assured that they have the grounds and basis of considering him as such.
The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Cagayan de Oro City (CIDG-CDOC) said Galua was formerly employed as faculty member of USTP.
USTP officials also disclosed earlier that Galua was the architect who designed several new buildings in the campus, including the unfinished construction of Student Center and Education Complex Building.
School officials have kept their silence when asked if Galua has resigned or was terminated.
Galua was arrested early this week for owning unlicensed firearms and explosives in a lawful search ordered by a court in Gingoog City.
"I don't know if they are friends or unsa ilang connection,"Hortillosa said, adding that what he only knew was Galua’s job then with USTP.
"May posibilidad nga kaila sila kay si Rotoras man ang president unya imposible wala siya kaila sa empleyado," Hortillosa said.
Hortillosa said investigators are likely to investigate the school affairs of the two, among other angles.
"Sa backtracking posible imbestigahan sugod ang trabaho kay may nakita siguro ang investigation nga dapat siya (Galua) i-connect. Dili pa ta kaingon kung personal ba or work-related ang motibo," Hortillosa said.
Hortillosa reiterated that the person of interest is someone who is believed to have an involvement in a crime but evidences are not yet established while the suspect is someone who is possibly involved and evidences are ready for the filing of charges in court.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 13, 2018.