10 tagged in lawyer’s ambush

BACOLOD. Lawyer Erfe Del Castillo in a press conference on Monday, February 4. (Teresa Ellera)

THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed murder and frustrated murder charges against the 10 persons and several unidentified suspects who were allegedly behind the ambush of lawyer Erfe Del Castillo in December.

The case, which was filed on Monday, February 4, before the City Prosecutor’s Office in Talisay City, tagged some police officials, businesswoman, former mayor, and a news hen.

In a press conference on Monday, Del Castillo identified the respondents as Catherine Berioso-Cabuga, also known as Kate Brios, her mother Shirley Berioso and sister Caselyn Berioso, along with their lawyer, former Salvador Benedicto mayor Jose Max Ortiz.

Also named respondents were former Bacolod City Police Office director Senior Superintendent Francisco Ebreo, Superintendent Richie Yatar, Senior Inspector James Adrian Albaytar, Senior Police Officer 2 Joshua Barile, and Police Officer 3 Ronald Ortiz.

Ebreo and Yatar were earlier sacked from their posts after President Rodrigo Duterte publicly linked them and other police officers in the illegal drug trade.

Another respondent in the case was a member of the media.

The ambush led to the death of the lawyer’s fiancee, former policeman Efren Palmares.

Del Castillo said they just filed the case on Monday because they still mourned for the death of Palmares.

Aside from Del Castillo, Palmares’ mother, Rosalia Palmares, is also a co-complainant.

The lawyer alleged that all the suspects connived to have her killed, as she claimed that Berioso-Cabuga as the mastermind of the incident.

“I am a thorn on her neck,” Del Castillo said, adding that the ambush on her life stemmed from the conflict over the properties, including the Metro Inn Hotel, of the Cabuga couple.

It can be recalled that in November 2018, there was a standoff at the Metro Inn Hotel in Bacolod City.

Del Castillo is the counsel of Berioso-Cabuga’s estranged husband, Francis Cabuga.

“My mind was still alert at the time of the incident along the Circumferential Road, up to the time of my operation,” she pointed out.

“I saw who shot me, who they reported to after the incident and who were the individuals in the area,” she said.

“That area in Talisay City was well lighted so I remembered all of them,” Del Castillo added.

Del Castillo also revealed that she and her family have been receiving threats after the ambush.

On December 21, 2018, Del Castillo and Palmares were on their way to Bacolod City from the Bacolod-Silay Airport when they were ambushed by more than two unidentified armed men reportedly on board a sports utility vehicle in Barangay Matab-ang, Talisay City.

Police probers earlier said they have difficulty in identifying the perpetrators and establishing the motive because there were no witnesses who surfaced to help in the investigation.

As of press time, the respondents have yet to issue a statement about the lawyer’s accusations.


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