- Category: Regions
30 Apr 2013
- Written by Rene Acosta / Reporter
One of the alleged masterminds in the killing of Infanta, Pangasinan, Mayor Ruperto Martinez in December last year has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to drop the murder charges against him and then go after the real killers.
In a counteraffidavit he filed on Tuesday during the preliminary investigation on the case, Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino asked the panel of prosecutors to deliver “true justice” to the slain mayor.
He maintained that Martinez, who was killed last December 15, was his “personal friend” and a political “ally” so he has no reason to kill him.
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed murder charges against Espino and Rep. Jesus Celeste of the First District of Pangasinan after a witness tagged them in the killing.
According to the charges filed by the NBI before the DOJ, the two instigated and plotted the killing of Martinez, as claimed by the witness in the case.
The witness alleged he was present in a November 2011 meeting, where Espino, Celeste, Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane and newsman Jaime Aquino talked about killing Martinez because of his knowledge of the “black rock,” or the quarrying of nickel.
Espino was reportedly told by Ebdane to take care of the situation involving Martinez because they were both from Pangasinan.
The witness said Espino, Celeste and Aquino later went to Celeste’s El Pescador Beach Resort, where Celeste tasked a certain “Kardo” to make sure Martinez is dead.
Celeste allegedly gave Aquino P100,000 as his share in the illegal numbers game jueteng.
The witness said Kardo was ordered by Celeste on December 14, 2012, to check if Martinez was still alive.
However, Espino belied the claim of the witness, adding the witness had a checkered history, including drug use.
During the preliminary investigation, the wife of the slain mayor, Crisanta, also submitted her sworn statements clearing Espino and Celeste in the case.
The widow said she and her children refused to sign the complaint that was earlier prepared by the NBI because they wanted authorities to go after the real culprit, who is a political foe of her late husband.
Crisanta claimed that Espino and Celeste were political allies of her husband under the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
Aside from the killing of Martinez, the witness claimed that Aquino, Espino and Celeste also ordered the killing of Jovencia Gasmin, a barangay official in San Juan, Alcala, Pangasinan.
Gasmin’s death was allegedly planned in June 2012 in the farm of Engineer Reynaldo Mencias, father of Alcala Vice Mayor Ryan Mencias.
The elder Mencias allegedly told Espino he will have Gasmin killed because he was blocking the quarrying activities in Alcala.