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Suspect in ex-gov aide’s slay to turn state witness?

Ronald Magat
San Jose City Mayor Mario "Kokoy' Salvador (left) talks to arrested murder suspect Ronald Magat (in handcuffs), 30, of Bgy. Tondod, one of the alleged gunmen in the 2018 gunslaying of then- Gov. Cherry Umali's personal aide, Mary Anne Hernandez. The suspect was presented to the mayor by police chief Lt. Col. Heryl Bruno at his office on Tuesday. Salvador urged the suspect to cooperate with authorities and speak out the truth about everything he knew about the killing.

SAN JOSE CITY – Police here said that one of the suspects in the January 14, 2018 gunslaying of Mary Anne Hernandez, personal secretary of then-Gov. Czarina D. Umali, who was arrested last weekend, may qualify to become a state witness in the said case depending on his lawyers.

City police head Lt. Col. Heryl “Daguit” Bruno said this could be a possibility if the arrested suspect, identified as Ronald Magat, 30, a former security guard and delivery boy, of Zone 6, Sitio Raymundo, Bgy. Tondod, would cooperate with the authorities and reveal the masterminds in the murder case.

“Maaari siyang (makapasa bilang) state witness, depende sa abogado niya,” said Bruno when interviewed by mediamen shortly after he presented to Mayor Mario “Kokoy” Salvador the arrested suspect at the latter’s office here on Tuesday.

Salvador lauded Bruno for the suspect’s arrest saying this latest accomplishment only proves that the police chief’s recent achievement of being named as the most awarded police station in the province for bagging four awards, including the most number of SACLEO (Simultaneous Anti-Criminality Law Enforcement Operations) accomplishments in the city level, was no fluke.

The mayor talked to Magat and urged him to cooperate with the authorities and reveal the truth about everything he knew about the murder incident.

Bruno also thanked Salvador for his all-out support to the police like providing operational funds for the conduct of manhunt operations against most wanted persons, including Magat, who was one of nine accused named in the arrest warrant for murder issued by presiding Judge Eleonor Teodora Marbas-Vizcarra, of the RTC Branch 89, Baloc, Sto. Domingo.

“Ang role niya (Magat) sa krimen ay bilang isang spotter, lookout o gunner, kasi puwede kang maging gunner, kung sino ang mas malapit sa target siya ang bibira, eh marami sila at sila ay organized,” the police chief told reporters, in describing Magat’s supposed role in the killing of Hernandez.

Bruno said Magat’s arrest was carried out after weeks of intense intel-surveillance work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He said the lockdown safety measures forced the suspect to lie low for a while amid the stringent travel documentary requirements needed to go out of the city, enabling his men to track him down at his supposed lair.

It was earlier reported back then that former Gov. Czarina “Cherry” Umali offered a P1-million reward for any information that would lead to the resolution of the case with another P200,000 raised by Talavera town mayor Nerivi Santos-Martinez.

Publication Source :    People's Tonight
Steve A. Gosuico
Past President, Nueva Ecija Press Club, Inc.