CONTRARY to his earlier statement, Winifredo Miro will no longer step down as operations chief of the Cebu City Markets Office.
Miro had told reporters that he is resigning from public office, citing threats to his life and the problems in dealing with vendors. On the same day he made the pronouncement, the Regional Intelligence Division went to the Cebu Provincial Prosecutors Office last Thursday afternoon to file murder and attempted murder complaints against him after he was identified as the alleged mastermind in the ambush-slay of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta.
Police Regional Office 7 Director Jose Espino said they have strong evidence against Miro, and that they have already ruled out politics as a motive.
“Nakalitan lang ko sa mga panghitabo mao nakaingon ko nga mo-resign. Mo-duty gyud ko sunod tuig (January) bisan lonely kaayo ang akong New Year. Nganong ako kaha ang ilang gipasanginlan, no? Unsa kahay ilang motibo (I was just shocked by what happened so I impulsively said I would resign. I will report for duty next year. I wonder why they accused me. What could be their motive)?” Miro said.
Although he and Rupinta had their misunderstandings, Miro said these were not enough to have the latter killed as they had no personal issues against each other. He said most of their conflicts centered on the concerns of the vendors who seek assistance from his office after their stalls were reportedly demolished by tanods on orders.
Miro, though, clarified that he is ready to face the charges against him. He has yet to find a lawyer, saying he cannot afford the legal fees. As a City Hall employee and a former Ermita barangay councilman for 17 years, and a father of four children who are still studying, Miro lamented that he does not have the capacity to order the killing of anyone, let alone a controversial public figure like Rupinta.
In a separate interview, Acting Mayor Edgardo Labella said that Barug Team will have to discuss whether they should already give the P300,000 reward they have raised. Labella said he has yet to see the police reports, affidavits, and an approved barangay resolution and a petition signed by the residents of Ermita calling for “speedy justice.”
“As a former prosecutor, it has always been my position that the evidences submitted could stand the test of a judicial scrutiny mao na nga maayo gyud nga tanawn maayo kung unsa nga klase nga ebidensya ang ilang nakuha. Let us bear in mind that gathering data, evidence is one thing and proving it in a court of law is another thing,” he said.
Labella, who is also a former Ombudsman director, said he wants the public and private prosecutors to work together on the case since it involves public characters.
His colleague in the opposition, Councilor Joy Pesquera, shared the sentiment, saying that filing charges does not immediately mean the bounty will be given.
Pesquera, also a lawyer, deems it necessary for the police to examine thoroughly all angles of the investigation, especially amid reports that Miro has a boss.
“I believe the police has to look into the identity of the person referred to as the boss of Miro. If Miro was ordered by his boss, then the mastermind has not been identified,” she told SunStar Cebu. (RTF with PAC of Superbalita)