FORMER Cebu City Markets Office operation chief Winefredo Miro is asking the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor to dismiss the criminal charges filed against him for lack of probable cause.

Last December, the Police Regional Intelligence Division lodged murder and attempted murder complaints against Miro after he was identified as the alleged mastermind in the ambush-slay of Ermita barangay captain Felicisimo “Imok” Rupinta in Liloan town last Nov. 23.

Former 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.

The murder charge was 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.”

Together with a certain Cheche Siplay Gomez, ex-convict Jimmy Largo, alias Negro, alias Ninong and the 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.

In his counter affidavit filed Monday morning, Feb. 5, Miro asked the prosecutors office that a thorough investigation instead be directed to Mendoza.

He alleged that Mendoza is the “unscathed survivor” and the person who is the most knowledgeable as to the possible reason why somebody had an interest to kill Rupinta.

Although he and Rupinta had their misunderstandings, Miro reiterated that 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.

Miro said that prior to his death, Rupinta was already “friendly” with him since the latter had expressed interest in joining again Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK). Rupinta had been known as an ally of Barug Team Rama after he and BOPK had a falling out.

“Imok then intimated to me to help him regain the trust and respect of the BOPK leadership. I was flattered by his move of making me his bridge to reach out to BOPK because I felt that is how he respected me as a BOPK leader in Ermita,” Miro said in his affidavit.

Lawyer Edgar Gica, the head of Miro’s legal counsel said the identification of Miro as mastermind, and the subsequent filing of charges againt the latter may have been fast-tracked to claim the P300,000 bounty raised by members of Barug Team Rama. (RTF)