The counsel of five murder suspects, who are residents of Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental, strongly debunked police claims that his clients are members of a private armed group.
At the same time, Ariel Malunes, counsel of murder suspects Armando Remotigue, Joel Condes, Julito Tanoco, Antonio Bularan and Bernie Bantilan, said they “voluntarily surrendered” to authorities, contrary to police reports that they were arrested on Feb. 4 in barangays Bagong Silang and Bago in Salvador Benedicto.
Unfairly tagging them as members of an armed group in relation to the killing of Charlie Boli-Boli effectively crucifies them as guilty through “trial by publicity”, Malunes said in a statement.
The killing of Boliboli in July 8, 2017, was claimed by the NPA Roselyn Pelle Command in a statement issued by the rebel group.
Two months after, Salvador Benedicto Councilor Eden Bacordo and his two companions, were also killed by unidentified armed men in Brgy. Lopez Jaena, Murcia, Negros Occidental.
Malunes said that his clients are innocent of the crime they are charged, and their innocence will be proven during trial.
“They voluntarily surrendered upon my advice as their defense counsel, not because they are guilty of the crime charged, but for purposes of securing their lives,” he added.
Chief Inspector Adelon Caacbay, officer-in-charge of the Bacolod CIDG-Field Unit, in his 1st endorsement dated Feb. 6, returned the original copy of the arrest warrant for the five murder suspects, issued by Judge Edgar Tupas of the Bacolod Regional Trial Court Branch 46, to the court.
Caacbay said that “all accused voluntarily surrendered” to the Bacolod CIDG Field Unit headed by SPO3 Ramon Gocotano upon knowing that they have a pending warrant of arrest.
“Just as anyone else, my clients are also interested that justice will be served to the victim, and his surviving family, and against the real perpetrators, Malunes said.*
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