THE National Bureau of Investigation has recommended to the Department of Justice the filing of criminal charges against the mayor of Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte and three others for the murder of a man over a land dispute on September 15, 2016.
Recommended to be subjected to a preliminary investigation for murder were Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte Mayor Floria F. Villarosa, Attorney Josecor S. Gepolongca, the chairman of Barangay Poblacion in Siayan who used to be Mayor Villarosa’s municipal administrator; and Villarosa’s former aides-security personnel, former Army soldier Ernie V. Lumucso and Roy M. Balayong.
In the complaint, NBI Director Dante Gierran recommended to Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon to have the four indicted for murder under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code and arson as defined and penalized under Presidential Decree 1613.
“The sworn statements of Ernie Lumocso and Roy Balayong clearly revealed that Villarosa and Gepolongca planned and ordered the killing of Restituto Sasuman because of his vehement refusal to vacate the disputed land, which caused their difficulty to pursue the construction of the intended government projects,” said Gierran.
The NBI relied on the formal statement of Lumocso and Balayong who claimed they were bothered by their conscience, in filing the murder case. Lumocso said that after leaving the military, he worked as a security officer for the mayor and even acted as her political consultant. The ex-soldier said he also procured illegal guns for use of the mayor’s bodyguards.
Lumocso confessed that Mayor Villarosa and Atty. Gepolongca ordered the killing of the victim over the land dispute and he and Balayong were paid P5,000 each for the job by the lawyer. He said he posed as a policeman in abducting the victim with the help of Balayong. He confessed to have stabbed the victim repeatedly before slashing his neck and dumping his body in the spillway.
The 52-year old Sasuman was abducted near his house in Bgy. Polayo in Siayan on the evening of Sept. 15, 2016 and was found dead the following day in a spillway in nearby Bgy. Polayo in Siayan. The victim sustained multiple stab wounds on the chest and shoulders as well as a slash wound on the neck. His head was also wrapped in a piece of cloth and both his hands were tied behind his back with electrical wire.
On the same night they killed Sasuman, Lumocso and Balayong,42, confessed that they returned to the victim’s house and set it on fire. Fortunately, the victim’s family managed to get out.
The NBI also took the testimonies of the wife of the victim identified as Teodolfa and their nephew Elbert and Sasuman’s brother Adricula.
The 61-year old Adricula said that in 2010, his brother rejected an offer by Mayor Villarosa to buy his lot for a very small price. The rejection, the complainant said, prompted some men of the mayor to demolish his brother’s house and even steal its roofing materials prompting Restituto to file a case against the official.
Adricula said that when his brother built another house in the same lot, the mayor’s men again demolished it and even hurt their sister Leticia who eventually died. He said Leticia’s husband Delfin committed suicide following her death.
The man said that when they learned that they would win the case for forcible entry with temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against the mayor, Restituto was murdered and his house burned.