Slain USTP president laid to rest amid calls for justice

MURDERED university president Dr. Ricardo Rotoras was laid to rest on Friday, December 8, at Greenhills Memorial Park, Barangay Bulua, Cagayan de Oro City.

Rotoras’ flag-draped casket was accompanied by over 1,500 people -- family members, friends, and members of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) community, mostly wearing white shirts printed with "#Justice for Dr Ricardo Rotoras."

Also present during the burial were former representative Rufus Rodriguez, 2nd District Representative Maximo Rodriguez, Joint Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., and members of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, Rotary Club of Cagayan de Oro and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

Before the burial, a funeral mass was held in the USTP gymnasium where Rotoras’ wife, Zarah, delivered a moving eulogy for her husband.

"I was asking him... ‘How can I live without you?’ He said, 'Don't worry. If you want me to hug you, just ask Ericko... If you want to see me, look at Ericka. And if you want to talk to me, speak to Anicka,'" Zarah, during her message, said.

Rotoras' brother, Elde, told mourners that the university president’s killers, the gunmen as well as the mastermind, will be captured and brought to justice soon.

"Sa nagpatay sa akong igsoon og labi na sa mastermind, inihap nalang ang inhong mga adlaw (To those who killed my brother, especially to the mastermind, your days are numbered)," Elde said.

Rotoras, who was also the president of the Philippine Association of State Universities (Pasuc), was shot dead by at least two men last Saturday, December 2, outside his house in a private subdivision.

At least four persons of interest, who were both the killers and mastermind, has been identified by investigators, according to Chief Inspector Mardy Hortillosa II, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office.

At present, the reward money for information leading to the capture of the culprits has reached P2.5 million pledged by City Mayor Oscar Moreno, Rotoras' brethren at the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, and the City Council. (With reports from USTP intern Cyrill Garcia)
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