Editorial: Who is the mastermind?

POLICE Regional Office (PRO) 7 officials may say they have solved the killing of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta but they must admit that there are questions they could not, as yet, provide with convincing answers. Like, of the four people involved, they have identified and arrested only two. Who and where are the other two? And who masterminded the crime?

That does not take anything away from their successes in the investigation so far. It’s just that if the Rupinta case were a jigsaw puzzle, the police still have to account for many missing pieces. Until those missing pieces are found, expect some sectors to remain unconvinced of their findings.

One notable piece would be identifying the mastermind. This piece is crucial considering how the killing has stirred the political pot in Cebu City.

Rupinta’s death had Mayor Tomas Osmeña and the opposition Barug Team Rama making separate noises. Barug Team Rama linked the killing to politics and considered the ambush of Rupinta a political issue. Mayor Osmeña linked Rupinta to the illegal drugs trade and tossed mud at him apparently to ensure Ermita’s image wouldn’t turn heroic and his killing wouldn’t be used as political capital by the opposition.

The identification of the mastermind could help lower the decibel of this political noise.

If the mastermind is one involved in the illegal drug trade and nothing else, then the claim mainly made by Barug Team Rama, the political party where Rupinta belonged, that politics was involved in the slaying would be negated and its making political capital out of the killing would lose its sting. But if the mastermind is a politician, whether at the barangay level or higher, then that should raise suspicions on efforts to stain Rupinta’s image.

Beyond politics, however, is the need to be assured that killings like that of Rupinta wouldn’t be repeated. If the mastermind is not identified and prosecuted, then that opens the possibility of that mastermind looking for another target. Or it could encourage other people to do some masterminding of their own.
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