‘Mastermind’ of Rupinta ambush faces charges

THE Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 filed murder and attempted murder charges against the alleged mastermind in the ambush-slay of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta.

The Regional Intelligence Division went to the Cebu Provincial Prosecutors Office yesterday afternoon to file the charges against Winefredo Miro, operation chief of the Cebu City Market Office.

PRO 7 Director Jose Espino said they have strong evidence against Miro.

“He was identified because of the account of one witness and evidence where you’ll see a piece of paper that will show na siya ang nagbigay, sa kanya galing yun and the contents ng paper na yun na ang titirahin si (he gave the order to kill Rupinta) chairman,” Espino said.

He reiterated that they already ruled out politics as a motive.

“The motive from the very start was their internal conflict over the vendors’ association,” Espino said.

The murder charges were for Rupinta’s death while the attempted murder was for his common-law wife, Jocelyn Mendoza, who was with the former during the attack.

In her affidavit, Mendoza said that Rupinta was “trying to break the deadlock as to the leadership of the vendors’ association.”

“Cheche Sipalay Gomez, former president of the association whose appointment was through the will of former market administrator Winefredo Miro, was replaced by Marivic Cose through an election, (she) refused to vacate her seat which caused confusion and disunity among the members of the association,” she said.

“This prompted the Barangay Council to issue a resolution temporarily refraining Gomez from operating her fish stall at the Carbon market,” she said.

Together with Gomez, ex-convict Jimmy Largo, alias Negro, alias Ninong and Dela Cerna brothers, Junjun and Danny, Miro allegedly orchestrated the assassination plot against Rupinta, taking into consideration the long standing feud between him and the barangay captain “for control and dominance of the Vendors’ Association in Carbon Public Market in Ermita,” Mendoza said in her affidavit.

Miro, for his part, resigned as operations chief of the Office of the Cebu City Markets, citing threats to his life and the problems in dealing with vendors.

Miro said he has no idea why he was implicated in Rupinta’s death.

“I’m not afraid of the case. I will issue a detailed comment once I will read the complaint. I am ready to answer it in court,” he said.

Although he and Rupinta had their misunderstandings, Miro said these were not enough to have the latter killed.

Meanwhile, barangay officials and residents want justice for Rupinta to be served soon.

The Barangay Council led by Barangay Captain Mark Rizaldy Miral yesterday presented an approved resolution and a petition signed by the residents calling for “speedy justice.”

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