IT has been almost a month since Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta was murdered but until now, the alleged mastermind remains unidentified and has not yet been charged.
This is contrary to the early pronouncements of Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Jose Mario Espino that the police have already identified the mastermind.
Police arrested two suspects--Jimmy Largo and Jordan Gera--but they are guns-for-hire. Someone must have hired them to kill Imok. The duo strongly denied their participation in the incident.
Personally, I have some doubts about Largo and Gera’s participation in the murder but I am giving the police the benefit of the doubt.
So, who is really the mastermind? What is causing the delay in identifying the mastermind and the motive behind the killing? Was politics to blame? A turf war among vendor’s organizations in the Carbon market? Or was it because of Imok’s anti-illegal drugs campaign?
Imok was ambushed on the night of Nov. 23 in Tayud, Liloan while driving home to his residence in San Vicente in the same town. He was declared dead on arrival in a private hospital in Consolacion. His partner, Jocelyn Mendoza, was slightly hurt.
Mendoza identified Largo and Gera as among those who ambushed the village chief. Her testimony, at this early stage, may hold water. But I am afraid that she might not be able to support her claim during cross-examination by defense lawyers during the trial. I have already cited some cases when a victim testified in court against his assassin. His testimony was even corroborated by an independent witness but the court did not believe him and ruled that it was a case of mistaken identity. You see that?
I can foresee the questions during her cross-examination: Is she sure that Largo and Gera were among the four men who shot Imok? How far were they from the suspects when the latter peppered Imok’s vehicle with bullets? Was the place well-lighted? What did she do when she heard the series of gun bursts?
If Espino cannot divulge the identity of the mastermind and if no charges are filed against the latter in a couple of days, he should better shut up. He is not only fooling the public, but also himself. I even doubt the police are still investigation the case or are looking for the two other gunmen.
Despite strong criticisms and warnings from the City’s opposition councilors, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR 7) and church officials, the “former political has-been” still insists on providing cash assistance for the legal defense of policemen who kill criminals in the line of duty.
He rejected unsolicited advice from some sectors that instead of giving cash reward to policemen, the City could provide them with lawyers. There was also the suggestion that City Hall could create a legal panel intended for that purpose.
You see how hard-headed he is. He does not listen to suggestions and insists on his own, saying they don’t have any business interfering in his decision. Ingon ana na gyud siya kayabag ug ka diktador. Ginoo na lang ang mag-igo niya.