HPG denies involvement in Archival’s death

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Friday, March 21, 2014


THE Highway Patrol Group (HPG) has denied involvement in the killing of lawyer Noel Archival.

HPG 7 public information officer Insp. Oliver Plania said, though, that they will cooperate with the investigation conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The NBI 7 inspected last Thursday the impounded vehicles in the custody of the HPG 7 on suspicion that two of these were used in the Feb. 18 ambush that killed Archival and two companions.

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The NBI 7 found court documents filed by Archival in a red Toyota Vios that was kept at the HPG 7 impounding area in Barangay Sudlon, Cebu City.

The NBI 7 named Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, HPG 7 chief; Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara, HPG 7 operations officer; Sr. Insp. Joselito Lerion; and SPO4 Edwin Galan, HPG 7 chief clerk, as suspects based on accounts of witnesses and footages from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras near the crime scene.

Plania said a case involving HPG 7 and a client of Archival cannot be the basis for linking the police officials to the ambush.

“It is common for the HPG 7 to get sued, especially if they impound cars of influential people. But we are here to do our job. Anad nami anang kiha-kiha (We’re used to getting sued),” he said.

Archival filed in 2013 administrative and criminal complaints before the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas against 14 police officers, including Iglesia, Mara and Lerion.

Plania also declined to comment on the red Toyota Vios. He said they are still getting information about the car and determine if “it was really impounded” at the HPG 7 facility.

He said they have to check the basis for the search warrant used by the NBI. He declined to comment further.

“We will make a complete statement in due time,” he said. “We need to check the data and information before saying anything.”

He said they will also check the testimonies of the witnesses.

Mara said he was surprised that his name was linked to Archival’s death. He said he will gladly undergo a lie detector test and ballistics exam to prove his innocence.

“Bisan pa og ka one thousand ko ipa-lie detector test ug ballistics akong pusil para lang mapamadtud-an na wala koy kalabutan ana (I will undergo a thousand lie detector and ballistics tests just to prove my innocence),” he said.

He said that as of yesterday, he has not yet received a subpoena from the NBI.

The other HPG officials were not in their offices yesterday. Plania said Iglesia was attending to other matters.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 22, 2014.

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