CEBU CITY -- Four men, three of whom are under police custody, were charged Tuesday with murder and frustrated murder after the shooting inside a fast food outlet in Barangay Tabunok, Talisay City last week.
Ricci Edwin Ramirez, Allan Velos and Roger Cal were brought to the Talisay City Prosecutor’s Office Tuesday afternoon for the filing of charges. A fourth suspect, Dexci Gomilao, remains at large.
All four were charged with the death of German national Heinrich Haffner and the injuries caused to French national Julian Maillard and Indian national Cheten Saparaiya.
But while Tuesday's proceedings were supposed to focus on the three arrested suspects, a previous case against Maillard also came to light.
He was arrested, using a warrant, for a case filed three years ago by his Filipina ex-wife in Siquijor.
Aside from the murder and frustrated murder charges, Ramirez will also be charged with illegal possession of firearms and illegal drugs. Cal will face a separate charge of illegal possession of firearms.
During the inquest proceedings before Associate Talisay City Prosecutor Hyacinth Jadraque, all three suspects refused to sign a waiver of detention.
This will allow the prosecutor to proceed with the preliminary investigation.
During the proceedings, Sheila Jane Gimutao, Haffner’s girlfriend, turned emotional when she saw the suspects. She vowed to continue seeking justice for her slain boyfriend.
But just before the three suspects underwent inquest proceedings, Maillard was arrested by local police.
The Regional Trial Court Branch 46 in Siquijor, presided by Judge Alejandro Bahonsua Jr., issued an arrest warrant against Maillard last October 22, 2012 for alleged violations of Republic Act 9262, or the Violence against Women and Children Act.
The arrest warrant stemmed from a complaint filed by Maillard’s ex-wife. Maillard was surprised when police officers showed him the arrest warrant yesterday.
He was scheduled to travel back to France tomorrow, February 26.
Maillard intended to pay the P24,000 bail but failed to do so before the Talisay City Palace of Justice closed for the day. He was detained in the Talisay City substation.
In a press conference Tuesday, Superintendent Reycel Carmelo Dayon, Talisay City police chief, said that last Monday, they received a call from their colleagues in Siquijor regarding the bench warrant issued against Maillard.
It was only during the inquest proceedings that SPO1 Mikie Espina, one of the city’s investigators, presented the warrant to Maillard.
After seeing the warrant, Maillard explained that he and his former wife separated when she left him for another man. He never thought that his wife would file a case against him.
Maillard, who speaks Cebuano fluently, told reporters he thought that he and his ex-wife had separated amicably.
“Wala lang. Gabuwag lang gyud mi,” he said.
Before the filing of charges yesterday, Talisay City Mayor Johnny De los Reyes told reporters that the City will provide cash incentives to witnesses who helped the police in identifying the suspects.
In a press conference, de los Reyes said that the City will be giving P5,000 each to the two witnesses.
In a separate venue, police revealed what they know about the fourth suspect, who remains at large Supt. Rex Derilo, Regional Intelligence Division (RID) deputy chief of Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas, identified him as Dexci Gomonte (not Gomilao), also known as Tata.
Gomonte was arrested by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)-Central Visayas last year for illegal possession of firearms.
Derilo said that Gomonte was one of the gunmen caught by the establishment’s security camera going after Haffner, 31, on the second floor.
Gomonte was also identified by Haffner’s girlfriend and one of the other suspects, Ramirez. The police caught Ramirez last Saturday.
A portrait of Gomonte, taken after he was arrested by CIDG 7, was shown to Gimutao.
“It’s still shocking to see his face and remember everything that happened,” she said.
Also on Tuesday, the police revealed that paraffin tests conducted on two of the arrested suspects -- Velos, 40, and Ramirez, 21 -- tested positive.
Findings from PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office-Central Visayas showed that gunpowder nitrates were found on both of Velos’s hands.
SPO1 Mikie Espina, investigator of Talisay City Police Station, said that empty shells recovered in the crime scene also matched the .40 pistol that was confiscated from Velos.
Gunpowder nitrates were also found on Ramirez’s right hand while his left hand tested negative.
A friend of Haffner, identified only as Michael, went to the PRO 7 for the case conference yesterday.
“They’ve done a great job. They already identified the principals within 72 hours. This is excellent police work,” he later told reporters.
“This was a random act of violence by individuals who have no concern for human life,” he said. “It’s the individuals who perpetrated this that are the problem; not Cebu, not Talisay.”