Survivor wants 2 HPG officials charged, too

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

THE lone survivor in the ambush-slay of lawyer Noel Archival wants two former Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 members to be included in the case.

Paolo Cortes said he is convinced that Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara and SPO4 Edwin Galan were involved in the Feb. 18 ambush in Barangay Coro, Dalaguete, which resulted in the death of Archival and two employees.

“Kauban man gyod na sila (They were involved),” he said in an interview over GMA 7 Balitang Bisdak.


Cortes said the two officers were in-charge of the impounded vehicles at the HPG 7 compound in Lahug, Cebu City. Both knew that impounded vehicles cannot be used by anyone, he added.


Mara and Galan were not indicted by the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor.

Provincial Prosecutor Jesus Rodrigo Taga-an charged Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, Senior Insp. Joselito Lerion and PO1 Alex Bacani with multiple murder and frustrated murder.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 found evidence that HPG officials used impounded vehicles and interchanged license plates of other impounded cars.

Cortes, however, clarified that he respects Taga-an's decision.

Defense lawyers said they will file a motion that will ask the prosecutor to reconsider his recommendation of filing of cases in court against Iglesia, Lerion and Bacani.

But lawyer Inocencio de la Cerna, counsel of the HPG officials, said they expect the case to be dismissed for lack of evidence.

He said he welcomed the dismissal of the charge against Galan and Mara. He said the development disproves the conspiracy theory of the police investigating the Archival killing.


He said if Taga-an will deny their motion for reconsideration, the defense will file a petition asking the Department of Justice to review the complaints.

“We are fighting for tooth and nail,” he said. “We will go for a zero-five win.”

He said there is a “far-off” possibility that his clients would be convicted.

Private prosecution lawyer Democrito Barcenas said their evidence is strong against the former HPG 7 officials.

Meanwhile, Cortes said his family is in financial trouble because he is jobless and his wife accepts laundry from neighbors.

His left arm, he said, is about to be decapitated because it got infected. Two of his four children have stopped attending their classes at a college.

“Pait kaayo akong kahimtang ron uy (My situation is pitiful),” he said.

He said he still mourns the death of his employer, Archival, and fellow aide Candido Miñoza and driver Alejandro Jayme.

He survived the ambush but he said he received death threats.

“Gikaloy-an ko sa akong guardian angel (My guardian angel took pity on me),” he said.

“Tinuod gyod diay ning magtinarong ta duna pa gyoy manalipod. Kung kuhaon na gyod ta sa Ginoo, ato na gyod na (God protects the good. He decides when it’s time for me to go).”

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 31, 2014.

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