NBI makes own probes on slay of radioman to avoid ‘whitewash’

ROXAS CITY – A team from the National Bureau of Investigation arrived here Aug. 11 to conduct its own investigation on the killing of Radio Mindanao Network –dyVR broadcaster Martin Roxas.

The NBI team stepped into the picture on orders of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales.

This even as the local police filed murder charges against the two suspects identified as Joenel Lastimoso, 27, the alleged gunman, and Christian Tan, said to be the driver of the motorcycle used in the ambush. The case was filed before the City Prosecutor’s Office Aug. 14, based on the affidavits of witnesses.

City Prosecutor Erwin Ignacio formed a special panel of three man prosecutors headed by Assistant City Prosecutor Salvador Dellota for the purpose of conducting a speedy inquest-investigation and evaluation of the case. The panel declared that there was “probable cause” that would warrant the filing of murder charges against the suspect.

Police had yet to determine though the motive behind the killing.

Roxas’ killing drew outrage and condemnation from local officials and other sectors in Capiz.

Roxas, program director of RMN-dyVR, was killed Aug. 7, after he was shot in the back at around 1:15 p.m. along Bayot Drive while riding a motorcycle on his way home from work. The shooting occurred shortly after Roxas ended his noon program at the RMN-dyVR.

His body stayed for a week at the St. Anthony Funeral Homes before it was brought to his home town in Maayon, Capiz.

Martin is first journalist murdered in Capiz .

Lastimoso and Tan were arrested in nearby Ivisan town about an hour after the killing. At least three witnesses have tagged theme as the involved in the killing of Roxas.

Chief Insp. Leo Batiles, the city’s police chief, said the witnesses have confirmed that the two were the perpetrators while they were inside a holding cell in the Roxas City police station along with other detainees. Police, however failed to recover any firearm from them.

Chief Supt. Isagani Cuevas, regional director of the PNP for Western Visayas, said Task Force Roxas, headed by Capiz Police Provincial Office (CPPO) provincial director Senior Supt. Josephus Angan, would continue to gather evidence on the case.

Cuevas, however, said investigators had yet to determine if somebody else ordered the killing or if the two suspects acted on their own.

“We have a strong case against the suspects,” Cuevas said.

Dr. Owen Libaquin Regional Police Office-6 crime Chief, said Roxas died of hemorrhage due to gunshot wound.

Roxas sustained a single gunshot wound from a 9mm caliber double bullet, with spread and hit the spinal column and the heart, said Libaquin, who conducted the autopsy on the victim.

Meanwhile, about 500 persons, including family and friends of the broadcaster and journalists, joined the march protesting the death of Roxas. The protest march, held about 2p.m. of Aug. 8, started in front of station dyVr and ended at the site of the shooting where candles were lit.

Source: Gerry Pagharion and Felipe Celino
The Capiz Times, Vol. No. XXVI No. 44 August 11-7, 2008 Issue

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