Officer surrenders to deny involvement in Richard King's murder-A A +A
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
THE police official who was tagged in the murder of businessman Richard Lim King was relieved from his post yesterday, after he was placed under investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Supt. Leonardo A. Felonia was relieved as director of the Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU), on orders of Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Group Director Chief Supt. Diosdado Ramos.
“I am submitting myself for investigation,” said Felonia, who is also supervisor for Mindanao of the Task Force Sanglahi-Alpha on Counter-Terrorism. He used to serve in 2009 in Mandaue City as deputy chief of the intelligence unit, a post he held for two years before being transferred to Davao.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte accompanied the official to the NBI office for Southern Mindanao last Monday night.
The day before that, self-confessed accomplice Rommel dela Cerna surrendered to the police and told them that Felonia had contacted Paul Dave Labang, instructing him to check if King was at his office. It was Labang who allegedly entered the building and shot King last June 12.
Also arrested apart from Labang was Rommel’s brother Rodel dela Cerna, a motorcycle driver.
NBI Director Lawyer Dante Guirran, in an interview with Bombo Radyo on Tuesday morning, said the bureau will conduct a fact-finding investigation about Felonia’s alleged involvement in the murder case.
“We will conduct our own investigation. Among subayon tanan gikan sa mga witnesses, cartographic sketch, hangtod sa mga suspects, tanan na kailangan. Ang among ika-pasalig na among buhaton among trabaho aron masulbad kini (We will look at everything, including the witnesses, cartographic sketch, suspects. We guarantee we will do our jobs and crack this case),” Guirran said.
A murder complaint was also filed late last Monday against Labang, Felonia and the dela Cerna brothers. Labang also faces a separate case of illegal possession of a firearm.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and the business community welcomed the arrest of the suspects in the murder of King, who ran the Crown Regency chain of hotels, among other businesses.
In his news conference yesterday, Rama said he was thankful to Mayor Duterte, the police in Davao and other law enforcement agencies for the immediate arrests.
He said Duterte had called him and informed him about the breakthrough.
Rama also said he was thankful to President Benigno Aquino III and Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas for the swift developments.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Tess Chan said the organization is happy that the suspects have been identified and arrested.
“We are happy because it was fast. We need swift justice,” she said.
Chan, however, hopes that the mastermind of the killing will also be identified and brought to the court.
Checking the link
In a phone interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Davao City Police Director Vicente Danao Jr. said they have not yet found any evidence that would link Felonia to King’s death, except for Rommel dela Cerna’s allegation.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) Director Noli Romana revealed that the local police have provided the family of King with security escorts.
“Mayor Rama instructed us to provide security for King’s family. That is why we already sent some personnel,” Romana told reporters yesterday.
Last Sunday, Labang was arrested in Barangay Maa, Davao City, then later identified in a police line-up by five witnesses as the man who walked up to and shot King.
A gun confiscated from Labang is being tested to see if any of the bullets that killed the Cebu-based businessman could have been fired from that weapon.
Rommel’s brother, Rodel, was allegedly the one who drove the getaway motorcycle after the assault. (Sun.Star Davao/With PDF and JTR of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 25, 2014.