• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Another suspect in the brutal killing of a teacher on August 16 in Binalbagan, Negros Occidental, was arrested yesterday by the police during a follow up operation in Brgy. Tinongan, Isabela.
PMaj. Randy Babor, Binalbagan police chief, said the arrest of the suspect identified as John Paulo Fernandez, 21, was made through information provided to them by his family, in coordination with the Isabela police.
Babor told Aksyon Radyo that while he admitted being in the company of three suspects, Fernandez denied stabbing the victim, identified as Tony Lazaga, 51, a faculty member of the Binalbagan Catholic College.
Lazaga reportedly succumbed to 16 stab wounds.
Another suspect in the brutal killing of Lazaga, Johnrey Castino, 19, was accounted for by the Binalbagan police.
In an interview at the Binalbagan custodial facility, Castino apologized to the victim’s family, while he denied participation in the commission of the crime.
Castino claimed that he was only invited by his two companions, Fernandez and Jonathan Centila, to follow the victim just to threaten him, stressing also that he was not aware of their plans.
He pinpointed Centila as the one repeatedly stabbed Lazaga, who fought back using only his folded umbrella, while shouting for help as he was being attacked.
Policemen who responded to the scene of incident recovered two knives, of which had bloodstains, two bags containing a laptop and personal belongings of the victim, a damaged folding umbrella, and a left-side slipper.
While he admitted drinking liquor prior to the incident, Castino claimed that he was not taking illegal drugs.
With the arrest of Fernandez, he enjoined Centila to surrender and face the consequences of what he did to the teacher.
PMaj. Randy Babor, Binalbagan police chief, is leading the manhunt against the fleeing suspects, as of this time.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, who expressed his sympathy to the victim’s family, said he wants to know what is the possible reason for the suspects to commit such an act.
Lacson also lauded the police for their immediate action on the incident that led to the accounting of two of three suspects.
Castino said after what he had witnessed, he was bothered by his conscience.*