Lawyer: 5 murder suspects not members of armed group

THE lawyer of five alleged murder suspects in Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental clarified on Sunday, February 10, that they are not members of a private armed group.

Lawyer Ariel Malunes, counsel of murder suspects Armando Remotigue, Joel Condes, Julito Tanoco, Antonio Bularan, and Bernie Bantilan, said that the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on their endorsement stated that the five suspects surrendered.

This is contrary to police reports that they were arrested on February 4 in Barangays Bagong Silang and Bago, all in Salvador Benedicto town.

Malunes, in a statement sent to the media on Sunday, said that by unfairly tagging them as members of an armed group in relation to the killing of Charlie Buli-Buli, former commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, effectively crucifies them guilty through trial by publicity.

Buli-Buli was killed on July 8, 2017 and was claimed by the rebels.

Two months later, Salvador Benedicto Councilor Eden Bacordo and his two companions were also killed by unidentified armed men in Barangay Lopez Jaena in Murcia.

My clients are innocent of the crime they are charged for and their innocence will be proven during the trial, Malunes said.

“They voluntarily surrendered upon my advice as their defense counsel, not because they are guilty of the crime charged, but for purposes of securing their lives,” he added.

Chief Inspector Adelon Caacbay, officer-in-charge of the Bacolod CIDG field unit, in his first endorsement dated on February 6, returned the original copy of the arrest warrant of the five murder suspects, issued by Bacolod Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Judge Edgar Tupas, to the court.

Caacbay said that all accused surrendered to Bacolod-CIDG field unit headed by Senior Police Officer Ramon Gocotano upon knowing that they have a pending warrant of arrest.

“Just as anyone else, my clients are also interested that justice will be served for the victim, and his surviving family, and against the real perpetrators,” Malunes said. (TDE)


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