Highway Patrol guards helped task force-A A +A
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
TWO security guards in the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) who took note of the vehicles entering or leaving the compound helped the authorities build the case against suspected killers of lawyer Noel Archival.
One of the guards, in an affidavit, said that sometime in the first week of March, a gray Mitsubishi Strada was driven out of the compound in Lahug, Cebu City around 9 p.m.
When he was about to log the vehicle’s exit, the security guard said that the driver told him, “Guard, huwag mong i-logbook ito, ha? (Guard, keep this out of the logbook, okay?)”.
“Considering that I am just a security guard assigned in that gate, I then followed his instruction not to log the vehicle. (But) one of the policemen called my attention not to follow any instruction not to log any vehicle coming out of the premises,” the guard said.
Another security guard told investigators that on February 18, 2014, a red Toyota Vios (GSC-675) left and then returned to the HPG compound twice, between 10:21 a.m. and 10:22 p.m.
That was the same day Archival died in an ambush in Dalaguete town around 1 p.m., along with his companions Alejandro Jayme and Candido Miñoza.
“There is evidence that will show that members of the HPG 7 have tendencies of inter-changing plate numbers,” the NBI said, in the report where it recommended the filing of multiple murder and frustrated murder charges against the HPG officers.
It said that “several” plate numbers were seen scattered inside the HPG 7 compound during the search last March 20.
“These plate numbers could be used illegally if members of the HPG 7 will desire to do so,” the NBI added.
But what could have triggered the attack against Archival and his two companions?
“Motive of the killing is very strong,” said lawyers Jose Ermie Monsanto and Rennan Augustus Oliva, NBI 7 supervising agents. They referred to complaints against the HPG 7 officials, whom Archival had accused of illegally seizing his clients’ vehicles.
The NBI 7 agents cited the complaint filed by one of Archival’s clients, businessman Jovel Tan Entote, who had accused Iglesia and his men of extorting P8 million from him.
This allegation of extortion was mentioned by a Quezon City judge, who acquitted Entote of criminal charges, the NBI 7 officials said.
In its report, the NBI 7 also said that Archival and the group of Senior Supt. Joselito Lerion, HPG 7 Special Operations Team head, “almost came to blows” when the lawyer reported the alleged attempt of the policemen to extort P200,000 from another client, Catherine Jane.
In their report, the NBI 7 officials said the HPG 7 personnel were within 30 to 40 kilometers from the crime scene on the day of the ambush.
Witnesses had told NBI investigators that about 10 policemen from Cebu City were in the area in the third week of February. Another witness also confirmed the presence of the HPG 7 personnel near the crime scene.
HPG 7’s Bacani and his companions, according to the NBI report, even paid a courtesy call on the office of Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia in the afternoon of Feb. 18, 2014.
Paolo Cortes, the lone ambush survivor, also executed his affidavit stating that a red Toyota Vios (GSR-995) blocked their way when they tried to overtake a bus in Dalaguete town.
When they reached Barangay Coro, Cortes recalled, the Toyota Vios blocked their path. Then a gray Strada pickup stopped beside them, and one of the passengers opened a window and fired.
Although he was hit in the arm, Cortes managed to survive by pretending to be dead, until the assailants left the scene. He then called up his office mates and reported the attack. (GMD)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 16, 2014.