Cops hold ‘person of interest’ in radioman’s murder
SURIGAO DEL SUR Joint police teams now have under their custody one of two “persons of interest” in the murder of Bislig City radioman Christopher Lozada, according to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS).
It said the suspects are known to be allegedly working for Bislig City Mayor Librado Navarro, who is also considered to be a person of interest in this case. Navarro has strongly denied any involvement on the ambush of Lozada on October 24.
PTFOMS said joint police operatives from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (Cidg)-region 13, the Philippine National Police-special Action Force (PNP-SAF), the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Surigao Del Sur Police Provincial Office, and the Bislig City Police Station swooped down November 7 on suspected hideouts of at least two suspects.
Armed with Search Warrants issued by Judge Cresenciana DC Cruz, of Branch 3 in Nabunturan town in Compostela Valley province, policemen managed to get into their custody the alleged lookout in the gruesome crime.
The other subject of the warrant, the supposed driver, remains at large, but PTFOMS said it will just be a matter of time before authorities could arrest the suspect. These persons of interest are both residents of Purok 10 in Sug-ubon in the village of Tabon in Bislig City.
“On behalf of the president, I congratulate the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) and Usec. Joel Egco, as well as the PNP Region 13, for their relentless effort in seeking justice for the victims. This shows the government's resolve to end threats of violence and other crimes posed against media workers and their families,” said PTFOMS Co-chairman and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar.
“We leave our competent investigators on the field to diligently discharge their mandated tasks, under the tight and close scrutiny of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS), whose Executive Director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, had personally conducted a probe on the incident and since day one has acted as overseer of the operations,” added Andanar.
PTFOMS Executive Director Egco vowed to bring the killers of Lozada to justice. “Rest assured that in the interest of justice, our directive is to charge anyone with Obstruction of Justice for obvious cover-up,” he said.
The grey van used in perpetrating the killing was reportedly being kept in a garage allegedly owned and operated by the local government and is now the subject of confiscation by authorities for forensic analysis. The PTFOMS was told that the local government barred investigators from taking hold of the said vehicle.
The simultaneous raids were part of our ongoing efforts to ensure justice for Lozada and his common-law wife who survived the ambush. The PTFOMS, Egco said, is committed to bring before the bars of justice all those who may have ordered the attack or perpetrated it.
“Again, we reiterate that we will take active participation in the filing of charges against the perpetrators of Lozada's murder, furnishing the police and the prosecutors’ office, all documentary evidence we have collated. The PTFOMS will keep a close watch and strictly monitor the progress of this investigation and even provide legal support and other assistance, if necessary,” Egco said.