Editorial: Keeping a keen watch

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


THAT the suspects in the killing of tycoon Richard L. King have been rounded up is a good sign. Law enforcers are indeed working.

But no less than the Police Regional Office 11 (PRO 11) has said that it is still on the lookout for the real mastermind, after the suspects identified Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) Director Leonardo A. Felonia as the one who called Paul Dave Molina Labang, alias Bulilit, 24, and alerted him of King's presence in his office at the Vital C building along Sobrecarey Street in Barrio Obrero.

The statement seems to imply that they do not believe Felonia is the one who ordered the killing, as claimed by the suspects, but someone else aside from Felonia. All these will still be up for speculation while the case prospers. This should also give us reason to keep a close watch over this crime where a high-ranking police official is implicated.

The three have already been charged with murder Tuesday night, while the City Prosecution Office has ruled that the murder raps against Felonia has to be filed under regular procedure instead of on inquest, thus, the charge sheet had to be refiled on Wednesday, separately for Felonia.

That was still fast, and we are glad someone out there is showing some balls. But the greater wish is for all these to prosper into a real case that will bring justice and not be a case that will drag on due to technicalities and loopholes.

Let us hope that police investigators are working with evidences to show and are not just being buoyed by the attention of the media.

While we're at it, we hope that law enforcers will also look into the claims that go with the involvement of Felonia in the case; claims that police officers keep a squad or an army of guns-for-hire to do the dirty work for them. This story, albeit only spoken in whispers, is already alarming. The fact that three men identified by witnesses have pointed to a high-ranking police officer even before they were pinpointed by witnesses already says something about the severity of this case.

By the way, there are now two versions of how the three were arrested: the story peddled last Monday being that Rommel dela Cerna surrendered and pointed to Labang and his brother Rodel as the accomplices leading to their arrest Sunday evening, and the press release story sent by PRO 11 yesterday that Labang was identified in a text message to the hotline number of the Davao City Police Office and that the dela Cerna brothers surrendered upon knowing that Labang has already been identified as the killer.

This by itself is already a red flag. Has there been just an oversight by the one who told the media, or has the story been changed?

Let us not allow ourselves to get dizzy because of how swift the story develops. Rather, let us make sure we keep track of each development because it is these ever-changing developments that will decide whether a case is airtight or it becomes the "lugaw" that will only punish the defenseless poor and the minions while setting free the powerful.

While we cannot discuss the merits of the case, let us make sure that we the people are apprised of how the case develops and let no officer make us believe that we have no right to access information like these.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 26, 2014.

Opinion

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