JAILED Iligan City Mayor Celso Regencia is considering filing counter charges against the principal complainant of the charges he is facing once the court will release him upon the recommendation of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the city’s information officer said Sunday, January 15.

In a recent resolution, the DOJ has reversed its previous resolution and recommended Regencia and his co-respondents be cleared of the accusations filed against them.

Regencia was charged with multiple murders and frustrated multiple murder complaints and was tagged as the alleged mastermind behind the ambush on former Iligan Representative Vicente Belmonte in December 2014.

While Belmonte survived, three of his security personnel were killed.

The mayor was indicted based on the testimony of Dominador Tumala, a self-confessed gunman, who accused Regencia of being behind the ambush.

But in its latest resolution, the DOJ found “no sufficient evidence to charge the respondents [Regencia and his co-accused] for murder and frustrated murder” and that “there is no direct testimony given by Tumala that would link the other respondents (Baller, Regencia and Arnoco) to the plot to kill Congressman Belmonte.”

The justice department also noted Tumala and Regencia do not know each other and that it is “beyond human experience that a co-conspirator would just give an order to kill a person to someone he does not personally know.”

“The complaints for murder (3 counts) and frustrated murder (4 counts) against all the respondents are likewise ordered dismissed,” the DOJ said in the December 9, 2016 resolution which was released to the media only last week.

With these developments, Iligan City information officer Jose Pantoja said Regencia is planning on filing a complaint against Belmonte for the same charges that the mayor is facing.

Now that the DOJ has determined that Regencia has nothing to do with the attempt on Belmonte’s life, Pantoja said it is now the mayor’s turn to file counter charges.

“His (Regencia’s) legal counsel has in its possession a set of documents that they will use in the filing of complaint,” Pantoja said.

Pantoja said a team of lawyers will attend the hearing at the Regional Trial Court-Branch 77 in the sala of Judge Ferdinand Baylon in Quezon City to rule on Regencia’s case on Tuesday, January 17.

“It is very clear that Mayor Regencia is innocent of all the charges. We are hoping that the court will finally dismiss the charges against him,” he added.

Regencia is currently detained at the Iligan City jail in Tipanoy village.

As of Sunday, Belmonte has yet to give his statement in relation to this report.