BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The first step to freedom is to surrender.
This was stressed by Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo, in her advice for Moises Padilla Vice-Mayor Ian Villaflor, Councilor Jimmiedon Plaza, and her nephew, Councilor Vincent Garcia, to give themselves up to authorities, in connection with the arrest warrant issued against them by the court in the killing of former town councilor Jolomar Hilario in 2019.
Garcia-Yulo had facilitated the surrender of three other respondents in the murder charge, identified as Quintin Remo Barangay Captain Felisa Villaflor, her husband Jonathan Villaflor, and Councilor Jose Morito Flores, to the town police Monday.
The three maintained their innocence in the allegations against them.
Hilario, 51, who was running for re-election in 2019, was murdered in his home in Moises Padilla.
The NPA Leonardo Panaligan Command had claimed responsibility for the killing, and accused Hilario of being a military asset.
Garcia-Yulo, however, said she believes that the respondents are innocent.
“If they will not surrender, the trial of the case against them will not start,” she said, adding that their counsel already filed a motion to post bail.
Maj. Randy Babor, Moises Padilla police chief, said the respondents were denied bail.
Garcia-Yulo and her husband, who were jailed before the 2019 elections, were cleared by the court on alleged illegal possession of firearms and prohibited drugs.*