THE suspected driver of the getaway motorcycle used in the murder of a public school teacher last week was charged with illegal possession of firearm and ammunition yesterday.
Joel Navarro Alforque, 32, who was brought to the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 yesterday morning, told reporters he did not take part in the murder of Romeo Duran.
“Wala gyud ko mokuyog ana (I’m not part of that),” Alforque told reporters.
He, however, named three men he brought from Barangay Poblacion 3 to the rotunda in Carcar who were talking about killing someone in Argao town.
Alforque was arrested in Barangay Valencia, Carcar City at around 4 p.m. last Saturday.
He admitted that police seized a .357 revolver with three bullets from him.
Asked what he needed a revolver for, Alforque said there were already two dispatchers who were killed in Barangay Poblacion 3 and that he was just looking out for himself.
But the police yesterday filed a string of criminal charges against Alforque and three other suspects in the killing of public school teacher Romeo Duran, who was shot by
a lone gunman inside his classroom in Barangay Binlod, Argao, Cebu.
The Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) filed a murder complaint before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office against Alforque, gunman Arnel Cabungcal, Marcelo Navares and Jiffy Cavan.
Also, separate charges for illegal possession of firearms in violation of Republic Act 8294 and the election gun ban were filed against Alforque and a direct assault charge was hurled against Navares.
Four policemen and five eyewitnesses have executed affidavits pointing to the four suspects as the ones who connived to carry out the crime.
In their joint affidavit, Insp. Rubin Cuizon, SPO1 Keneth Abella, SPO4 Lamberto Hibaya and SPO1 Elmo Rosales said they responded to a shooting alarm at around 3:45 p.m. last Feb. 10.
A hot pursuit operation was conducted by the policemen, which led to the arrest of Alforque, the driver of the motorcycle used as a getaway vehicle of the suspects.
Authorities frisked Alforque and seized from him a .357 caliber revolver tucked in his waist. The suspect was then brought to the Carcar City police station.
The policemen continued their operation and proceeded to the house of Navares in Barangay Zaragosa, Aloguinsan, Cebu.
But when the policemen were near the house, Navares fled through a back door.
PO3 Yamasaki Repompo shouted at Navares to surrender peacefully but the suspect instead fired back at the authorities.
As for the killing of Duran, witness Rellin Zamora said he was sitting on his motorcycle near Binlod Elementary School when he noticed four men alighting from their motorcycle.
Zamora said he later heard from the students that their teacher was shot dead.
Curious, he said he went to Argao police station to see the cartographic sketches of the suspects.
Zamora said he was surprised to see in the police gallery the photo of Alforque who served as driver of the motorcycle that was used by the suspects to escape after the shooting.
Other witnesses—Mylen Camarillo and three elementary students-–executed affidavits pointing to the suspects at the ones responsible for the shooting of Duran.
Police are building up cases against Cabungcal, Cavan and Navarez.
They secured photos of Cabungcal and Cavan from their jail records.
Cabungcal was remanded to the Carcar City Jail in Aug. 7, 2008 for trespass to dwelling while Cavan faced a case for attempted murder.
Cabungcal is identified as the one who shot Duran.
Alforque said Cabungcal had a tattoo of a spider on his nape and walks with a limp.
Alforque said he was at home when the three arrived and asked him to take them to the rotunda in Carcar City because one of the wheels of their red motorcycle was flat.
They wanted to take it to a shop to have it repaired.
Alforque claimed he refused at first because his motorcycle was not for hire, but changed his mind when one of them allegedly pulled out a gun. He also said they appeared drunk.
On the way to the rotunda, he said they were talking about someone they were going to eliminate.
After dropping them off at the rotunda, he said he did not know what happened.
Acting Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) Chief Erson Digal said even if Alforque denies any involvement, they have witnesses who identified him as the driver of the getaway motorcycle.
Alforque hopes the others will be arrested soon so they can clear his name.
“Kahibawo gyud to sila nga wa ko’y labot (They know I’m not part of this),” he said.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Lani-o Nerez said that for now, the motive of the killing remains unclear.
“We already have an idea who the suspects are. The ultimate goal is to arrest them,” Nerez explained.
He said that if arrested, they could find out what the motive of the killing is or who ordered them to kill Duran.
The firearm confiscated from Alforque will be submitted to the Regional Crime Laboratory for a ballistics examination. (MIA/GMD)