THE ballistic test results on the firearm that Police Staff Sgt. Celso Colita used in taking his own life did not match the bullet shells recovered from the scene where Ritchie Nepomuceno was killed.
Cebu City Police Office Director Josefino Ligan confirmed the ballistic exam results.
He said this means the gun used to kill Nepomuceno is different from the gun Colita used on himself.
“This is scientific evidence to corroborate if Colita is a person of interest. This slightly eliminates him as a person of interest,” said Ligan in Cebuano.
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Two men riding on a motorcycle shot Nepumoceno in the head on April 19, 2021 in Barangay Basak Pardo, Cebu City.
Before she was murdered, Nepumoceno had complained before the Integrity Monitoring and Enhancement Group Visayas Field Unit against 10 police officers, including Colita, who were then members of the Drug Enforcement Unit of the Sawang Calero Police Station.
The officers were charged with robbery for allegedly forcing Nepomuceno to withdraw P170,000 from her bank account and getting the amount from her. Colita was charged with a separate complaint for allegedly raping Nepomuceno twice in a motel.
Nepomuceno’s complaints resulted in the relief of the 10 police officers and the Sawang Calero Police Station chief, who reportedly failed to supervise his subordinates.
Hours after Nepumoceno’s murder last April 19, Colita shot himself dead inside the comfort room of the Regional Special Operations Group in the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 headquarters in Cebu City.
Suspicions that Colita was involved in Nepomuceno’s murder grew after it was learned that he had gone out of the PRO 7, with a police escort, in the morning of April 19 for a medical checkup. Colita returned to the PRO 7 shortly after Nepomuceno’s murder.
Colita and the other nine former Sawang Calero cops had been restricted to the PRO 7 headquarters as they were facing an administrative investigation.
Their government-issued firearms had been confiscated.
So on the question of the firearm used by Colita to kill himself, the answer remains a theory—it could have been his personal firearm.
Ligan said the investigation on Nepomuceno’s case is ongoing, and they had asked Nepomuceno’s estranged husband, Danilo, for his cooperation.
The police are looking into the victim’s involvement in a love triangle and illegal drugs as possible motives for her killing.
Danilo had revealed in an earlier interview with the media that Ritchie had asked if he would still take her back, but he had been non-committal because of her relationship with a drug lord who is now inside the Cebu City Jail.
Ligan did not name this drug personality because he is still under investigation.
He said Ritchie, alias “Miles,” had been tasked by the drug lord to oversee the warehouse where illegal drugs were stored and deposit in the bank the income from the illegal drug business. (AYB / NRC)