THE two persons suspected of conspiring to kill Cebu City Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta denied the accusation.

Jimmy Largo, the suspected gunman, and his alleged cohort, Jordan Gera, pleaded not guilty during their arraignment before the Regional Trial Court.

The accused entered their plea before Judge Ferdinan Rafanan of the Regional Trial Court Branch 88 in Mandaue City.

The pretrial conference of the case is set on Jan. 19 and March 2, 2018.

Supt. Reynaldo Magdaluyo, Regional Special Operations Group 7 chief, filed murder and attempted murder charges against Jimmy Largo before the Office of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor.

The police also filed separate cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and violation of the illegal drugs law against Largo before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

The city and provincial prosecutors elevated the cases to court after Largo opted not to undergo a preliminary investigation.

Interviewed by reporters after the filing of complaints, Largo, 41, of V. Rama St. in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, maintained his innocence. He said he is ready to face all the cases lodged against him in court.

He insisted that the village official, who is identified with the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan, masterminded the crime.

Largo’s cohort, Gera, is also facing murder and attempted murder cases in court.

Gera, 39, a vendor at the Carbon Public Market, was nabbed by the police inside his residence at Sitio Mangga, Barangay Jugan, Consolacion last Nov.30.

During the inquest proceedings, Gera opted not to file his counter-affidavit, prompting the prosecutor to elevate the cases in court.

Gera, an ex-convict and an alleged member of Batang Cebu 45 of the Cebu City Jail, is the second suspect in Rupinta’s death to be arrested after Largo was nabbed last Nov. 24.

Gera had denied the allegations, saying he was in their house in Barangay Jugan, Consolacion when the ambush happened. Gera said that he had no reason to kill the barangay captain as the latter was fair to the vendors like him.

Gera served jail time in the then Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center for homicide in 2004.

He was released the following year as the case didn’t prosper, he said.

Gera said his conscience is clean, adding that his daughter has text messages proving that he was home when Rupinta was killed.

Police cited the claim of Rupinta’s common-law wife, Jocilyn Mendoza, to support the case against Largo. (GMD)