AFTER pleading not guilty to the murder of a suspected drug pusher in 2013, one of the accused New People's Army (NPA) members is set to appear before the Regional Trial Court (RTC)-Davao City for the preliminary conference of the case on June 26.
RTC Branch 10 Judge Retrina Fuentes, in her order dated March 30, scheduled the preliminary conference on the murder case against suspected communist rebels, Ricardo Castillote, alias Ka Marvin, alias Marquez; Garry Cloma and another unidentified suspect who were accused of killing Ruel Catigan Pague.
Castillote will be assisted by legal counsel Manuel Quibod while the complainant Rowena Pague, wife of the victim, will be aided by Prosecutor Stella Esparagoza-Camino.
Fuentes also authorized RTC Branch 10 clerk of court lawyer Theresa Baluyut to mark the exhibits during the preliminary conference.
The case stemmed from the complaint of Rowena when she learned of her husband's murder on September 5, 2013 at Purok Orchids, Barangay Tagakpan in Tugbok District.
She cited in her affidavit that she went to the crime scene and saw a note from the suspects that read:
"Font 54 NPA, Gisilutan siya sa sala, 1. multiple murder 2. Dealer ug shabu 3. Holdaper 4. uguban pang kaso, (Font 54 NPA, He is being punished for the sins of multiple murder, shabu dealing, hold-up and other cases.)"
Camino, meanwhile, affirmed the murder charges against the suspect based on the testimony of a minor witness only identified as Andy. Andy told police that he saw the three suspects onboard a motorcycle chasing the victim who was also onboard a motorcycle.
One of the suspects allegedly shot Pague until he lost control of his motorcycle. The suspects then alighted from their vehicle and gunned down the victim before leaving the note. Andy confirmed the identity of the suspects through the rogue gallery of the police.
But while Castillote is currently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-Davao in Ma-a, authorities have yet to arrest the two other suspects. (RSA)