King, Noel: nasty murders, ugly rumors-A A +A
Sunday, June 15, 2014
CEBU City hotelier Richard King was shot dead June 12 in Davao City by a lone gunman who fled on a motorcycle.
Cebu lawyer Noel Archival was ambushed and slain Feb. 18 by gunmen in a van and a car; two companions riding home with him from a court trial in Negros Oriental were also killed.
Nasty killings, followed by ugly rumors.
Talks speculated on motive, none of which rested on hard evidence. Archival, they said, was killed because of a deal that went sour: paid money didn’t produce promised results.
King was killed, the talks ran, because of illegal drugs: someone in the trade ordered the rubout. A ribbon tied to the buzz package was that Davao City Mayor Rudy Duterte closed his eyes to the crime.
Last Friday, the mayor said Davao police rejected any drugs link, saying the killing must be related to any of King’s businesses in tourism and health products. If the mayor had heard of the rumor set loose in Cebu broadcasts, Duterte didn’t dignify it.
Don’t speak ill of the dead, elders remind us.
Yet in probing a high-profile murder case, police--and the public watching--examine all angles, even those that cast bad light on the victim, because often that’s where motive lurks.
Suspects in the Noel execution even included the rumors in their pleadings. They need to do more, of course, to be cleared of the crime.
Disclosure: I hadn’t written anything about the Kings and hadn’t read the material, written by columnist Elias Espinoza, before publication. I was dragged into the 2004 libel complaint as then editor-in-chief. Later, however, prosecutors dropped me as respondent.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 16, 2014.