POLICE Regional Office 4-A director, Brigadier General Edward E. Carranza yesterday told People’s Tonight they have filed murder charges against a police lieutenant colonel and three non-commissioned officers in connection with the killing of a lawyer and a civilian in Rizal province last May and June.
Charged with murder for their involvement in the killing of Attorney Adilberto Golla Jr. and civilian Conrado Esteban were Lt. Col. Melchor Agusin, Senior Master Sergeant Michael Eralino, Staff Sgt. Alberto Umali and Patrolman Benito Julian Jr.
Several John Does were also included in the complaint sheet.
Except for Eralino who is now under detention, the three other suspects remained at-large and are still being hunted by Calabarzon police agents, Carranza said.
The official said Eralino confessed his role to the twin murder case and identified the three other policemen as his accomplices. In his written affidavit, Eralino claimed that Esteban was killed in an effort to make it appear that he was the one who killed the lawyer.
Golla was shot dead by a still unidentified man armed with an M-16 automatic rifle near his house on Phase 2 Eastwood Greenview Subdivision in Rodriguez, Rizal last May 17 while Esteban was found dead along C-6 Road in Paraiso, Bgy. Gulod Malaya in San Mateo, Rizal last June 4.
Carranza said, a thorough investigation conducted by a Special Investigation Task Group showed the murder of Esteban was connected to the case of Golla as shown by results of the cross-matching examination on a recovered M-16 automatic rifle used in the assassination of the lawyer.
The official said the M-16 rifle was found in the possession of Esteban when his body was discovered. A ballistics test conducted by the Regional Crime Laboratory on the rifle showed it was the source of 5.56 ammunition that killed Golla.
Another spent caliber .45 cartridge found in the area where Esteban was killed also matched with the spent .45 casings recovered at the site where the lawyer was gunned down.
Carranza said the SITG probe pointed to the involvement of Eralino and Umali, both members of the Rodriguez Municipal Police Station to the twin murder case prompting him to order their administrative relief and investigation.
Last July 6, Carranza said that members of the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the PRO4-A Regional Intelligence Division, the PNP Highway Patrol Group and the Rizal Police Provincial Office raided the house of Eralino on 135 Via Veneto St. in San Francisco Village, Bgy. Muzon in Taytay, Rizal on the strength of two search warrants for violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulations Act of 2013 issued by Judge Cynthia Mariño- Ricablanca of the Sta. Cruz, Laguna Regional Trial Court and a warrant of arrest for murder issued last July 1.
Eralino was arrested after the raiders recovered two fragmentation grenades inside the suspect’s house.
Another raid at the residence of Umali on Block 20, Lot 1, Summitview Subdivision in Bgy. San Rafael in Rodriguez, Rizal resulted in the recovery of assorted firearms and various live ammunition.
“The two policemen are actually ‘persons of interest’ in the murder of Atty. Golla,” the official said.
According to Carranza, Sgt. Eralino last July 13 executed his extra-judicial affidavit relative to the killing of Golla in the presence of his lawyer, Atty. Zaldy Ambon. He said that they are still determining the real motive behind the killing of the lawyer.
“The incident that happened last May 17 and which led to the death of Atty. Golla was very unfortunate but we would like to inform the public that we will not tolerate our men on this kind of unlawful acts,” the official said.
Carranza said the Calabarzon police leadership has always reminded its men to put premium on human rights protection and to always adhere by the Police Operational Procedure at all times.