THE Philippine National Police leadership yesterday announced the solution of the murder of former Batangas (2nd District) Representative Edgar L. Mendoza and his driver and bodyguard last January 9 with the arrest of five suspects tagged as responsible for the abduction, killing and burning of the victims’ bodies.
“I am pleased to announce a major breakthrough in the investigation of the celebrated murders of former Batangas 2nd District Representative Atty. Edgar L Mendoza, his driver Nicanor Mendoza, and bodyguard Ruel Ruiz, whose charred bodies were found inside a burnt car in Tiaong, Quezon last January 9, 2020,” said PNP chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa.
According to the top cop, the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group headed by Brigadier Gen. Joel Napoleon M. Coronel has filed an information for three counts of murder against six suspects before the Calamba City Prosecutor’s Office.
Coronel said that their investigation showed that the heinous crime was believed ordered by one Sherwin Gonzales, a convicted murderer currently serving his sentence at the National Bilibid Prisons.
It turned out that Atty. Mendoza allegedly in exchange for quite a huge amount of money had promised Gonzales that he would get out of the national penitentiary thru Good Conduct time Allowance but the promise did not materialize in the aftermath of the GCTA controversy last year which prompted President Duterte to suspend the implementation of the said law.
“Five suspects are presently under custody while another suspect is at-large and is now the subject of manhunt operations in coordination with local PNP units. By our own parameters on crime solution and crime clearance, this case is considered solved and is now elevated to the prosecution arm of the justice system,” said Gen. Gamboa.
Brig. Gen. Coronel said the five suspects responsible for the murder of the victims and two others were arrested through continuous follow-up operation by operatives of CIDG Regional Field Unit 4-A last January 13.
He identified the arrested suspects as Kristine Fernandez, Madonna Palermo, Carlo Acuña alias ‘Bakla’ and Erickson Balbastro. A 5th suspect identified as Rodel Mercado remains at-large and is still being hunted as of press time.
Coronel said that another suspect identified as Maria Roselle Fajardo alias ‘Jael Fajardo’ voluntarily surrendered to CIDG Deputy Director for Operations, Colonel Leo M. Francisco at the CIDG headquarters in Camp Crame.
The charred bodies of the three victims were found inside a burned car parked in the middle of a bridge located at the boundary of Barangays San Juan and San Francisco in Tiaong, Quezon around 12:10 a.m. last January 9.
Thru a DNA test conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory, the victims were positively identified as Atty. Mendoza, his driver Nicanor and bodyguard Ruiz.
According to Coronel, their investigation revealed at around 1:03 p.m. last January 8, the victims were lured by the suspects to proceed to the house of Fajardo located at Block 14, Lot 21, Villa La Prinza Subdivision in Bgy. Prinza in Calamba City, Laguna where a payoff for their business deal would be made.