FOR providing information about the alleged killers of Ermita Barangay Captain Felicissimo “Imok” Rupinta, three informants were given P300,000 by members of Barug Team Rama in the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.

The money was equally divided among the informants.

“We heard some rumors that there were witnesses. So in order for them to be encouraged and to go out to help the police solve the crime, we came up with this reward. Four months have passed, as raising the reward money is not easy, especially this amount,” Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera said.

Rupinta was ambushed in Liloan last Nov. 23.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said that they placed their trust in the police in the investigation, especially in finding out the mastermind behind the ambush.

“The group heeded the advice of the police because they are at the forefront and they headed the intelligence gathering and, of course, they are the ones who are gathering data and looking for witnesses to solve the crime,” Labella told reporters.

Chief Supt. Franklin Mabanag, deputy regional director for administration of the PRO 7, said that the case is now in court.

“We have identified suspects. The clamor of everybody that it would sum up to the principal suspects of this case would be done discreetly and continuously if we could find more witnesses on who directed the killing,” Mabanag said.

Jimmy Largo and Jordan Gera, two of the alleged gunmen, were caught and detained after their cases were filed in court.

At City Hall, saying it’s about time, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña welcomed the opposition’s initiative to turn over the P300,000 bounty it had raised for anyone that can provide information leading to the arrest of Rupinta’s assailants.

Nearly six months after the ambush-slay, some members of Barug Team Rama turned over to the police yesterday the reward money it had raised.

The controversial village chief was a known ally of the group.

“Finally. First, they offered P300,000 to find the killers. When they found the killers, no, the P300,000 was for the mastermind. They were still looking for somebody that will contest, so they just gave the money to the police,” Osmeña said.

The mayor added that he is not afraid to face allegations of him being involved in the attack, and that he, too, wants to find out who the mastermind is.

“I’m not afraid, but that’s good. They really want me to be the mastermind. They are willing to offer P300,000 to anyone who’s willing to testify that I was the one who masterminded the killing of Imok,” he said.

The Police Regional Office 7 filed murder and attempted murder charges against the alleged mastermind.

The Regional Intelligence Division went to the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office last Dec. 27 to file charges against Winefredo Miro, operations chief of the Cebu City Market Office.

But Osmeña suspects that it was Rupinta’s common-law wife, Jocelyn Mendoza, who was with the barangay captain when the assailants peppered their vehicle with bullets, who was behind the attack.

“I really want to find out who the mastermind is. If you ask me who the mastermind is, it’s the one with him in the car. That’s my suspect because she’s not the real wife and Imok has a new girlfriend.

She controls the properties of Imok. She was the one who stood to benefit the most out of this and she knew the killer. The killers are identified with Imok. Why would I be the mastermind when Imok wanted to join BOPK (Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan)?” he said. (JOB, RTF)