NBI: HPG ‘swapped’ car plates

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014


THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 yesterday filed criminal and administrative complaints against the chief of the Highway Patrol Group in Cebu Province before the Office of the Ombudsman–Visayas.

The NBI 7 said HPG Cebu Provincial Chief Eduardo Mara allegedly used an impounded vehicle using the plate number of another. He also allegedly drove the vehicle in the morning before lawyer Noel Archival and his two companions were killed in an ambush on Feb. 18 in Corro, Dalaguete.

NBI 7 Director Max Salvador said in a letter to the ombudsman that some personnel of the HPG 7 have the “propensity” to switch or change plate numbers of vehicles at its impounding area.

The NBI 7 accused HPG Cebu Provincial Chief Eduardo Mara of violating Republic Act (RA) 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act) and RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards) and gross misconduct.

Mara and four HPG 7 officials have been implicated in Archival slay.

The latest set of allegations against Mara stemmed from an incident involving Frederick Ruela whose red Mitsubishi Strada pickup with license plate YGR-311 was impounded on Feb. 10, 2011 by the HPG 7. The pickup was driven by Kenneth Son at that time.

Impounded

“My vehicle was being impounded because it had no current sticker attached, no windshield sticker attached, (Son's) failure to wear seatbelt, and no current registration carried (by Son),” said Ruela in an affidavit that was among the documents filed by the NBI before the ombudsman.

Ruela was given an impounding receipt with technical inspection and inventory report signed by PO2 Maceren and noted by Mara.

Last April, Ruela passed by the HPG 7 office in Camp Sotero Cabahug on Gorordo Ave., Cebu City and saw his pickup.

The NBI 7 also used as evidence the affidavits of two former security guards at the HPG impounding area in Lahug, Cebu City. The guards said Mara allegedly used a black Toyota Hilux pickup using the plate of Ruela’s Strada.

Certification

The Land Transportation Office 7 issued a certification that YGR-311 is the license
plate issued to a red Strada.

One of the guards said in his sworn statement that Mara drove the Hilux out of the compound at 11:14 a.m. last Feb. 18, hours before Archival and his companions were attacked.

The guard said the police official used the vehicle again on Feb. 20. The other guard said Mara used the Hilux last Feb. 17 and Feb. 21.

The NBI 7 traced two vehicles allegedly used in the Archival ambush to the HPG impounding area.

Mara's lawyer, Inocencio dela Cerna, said the latest allegations against his client will not strengthen the multiple murder and frustrated murder complaints the NBI 7 and Special Investigation Task Group Archival filed against Mara, Supt. Romualdo Iglesia,
Senior Insp. Joselito Lerion, SPO4 Edwin Galan and PO1 Alex Bacani, all of HPG.

Denial

“I sense a seeming desperation in the filing of these cases against my client,” said dela Cerna.

Mara, in earlier interviews, denied any involvement in the attack on Archival.

In the recently filed complaint, Salvador asked for Mara's suspension pending the resolution of the case so that the latter “cannot use his position to harass and intimidate witnesses and destroy evidence.”

Mara and other respondents are under camp restriction in HPG headquarters in Manila. KAL

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 07, 2014.

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