A MURDER charge was filed yesterday against the suspects in the ambush of former Compostela mayor Joselito Reynes.

But Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 5 Judge Douglas Marigomen dismissed the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Lucia Viloria, wife of suspect Dominador Viloria Sr., for lack of merit.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Lucia accused the police of illegally arresting her husband and son Dominador Jr. in their home.

Marigomen, in his six-page resolution, said the court is uncertain on what charges the investigating and prosecuting officers may lodge against the aggrieved persons.

Sun.Star Cebu tried to call lawyer Rex Fernandez, counsel for the Vilorias, to get his comment but his cell phone was out of reach.

Based on the complaint filed by the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) yesterday, alleged gunman Wilson Pasaol, the unidentified driver of the getaway vehicle and Viloria Sr. were the main suspects in Reynes’s murder.

Pasaol and the unidentified suspect remain at large.

SPO1 Kenneth Abella of the Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Bureau was one of the officers who filed the case yesterday on behalf of Regional Special Operations Group Chief Romeo Santander.

CPPO Acting Director Erson Digal said five witnesses pointed to Pasaol as the one who shot and killed Reynes.

Two witnesses tagged Viloria Sr. as the backup.

Dominador Jr., on the other hand, was not named a respondent in the complaint but was charged with illegal possession of a firearm.

Reypas Gahi, who was earlier invited for questioning, was cleared after yielding a negative result in the paraffin test.

Digal said the police will know the motive in the killing once Pasaol is arrested.

Politics is one of the angles the police are looking into. Reynes was the campaign manager of mayor-elect Joel Quiño.

Mayor

Meanwhile, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia will meet with Department of Interior and Local Government 7 Director Pedro Noval tomorrow to discuss the latter’s reported withdrawal as acting mayor of Compostela.

Noval was designated as acting mayor after the Commission on Elections suspended the proclamation of Quiño.

Garcia said she wants to talk to Noval and the town’s barangay captains before they will propose solutions to the problem.

“I understand he (Noval) encountered operational problems in running the town,” Garcia said.

She referred to the operational problems due to the town’s reenacted budget.

Garcia said she wants to know where the Capitol can intervene and how officials can “positively assist in ironing out the kinks of the peculiar situation.”

Noval earlier said he has been scouting for possible candidates to be appointed as the town’s permanent officer-in-charge.

“I have told many about it, but all of them declined. They are very much capable but they have apprehensions about it,” Noval said.

He said qualified appointees must be residents of Compostela and acceptable to both Quiño and former mayor Ritchie Wagas.

Sacrifice

He said his role is to recommend candidates for appointment to the DILG central office, which will then forward the list to the President, who will make the official appointment.

“For qualified candidates to be appointed, they have to resign from their present job or position, be it in the public or private sector. That’s where apprehensions come from. What if a month after their appointment, the case of Quiño and Wagas is resolved? What will happen to them?” Noval said.

He said he tried to convince several individuals in the town, including barangay chief executives, but not one of them was “willing to sacrifice.”

In the meantime, he said, he has to carry out his duties and responsibilities as the town’s acting mayor.

“By all means, I have to accept this responsibility and do all my best. I’m doing this to help the residents of Compostela,” he said.(JKV/RRF/RSB/With GMD and JTG)