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Friday, May 22, 2009

Murder Scandal in Ajuy Iloilo

While we gossip on the latest update on this Halili-Kho scandals, which my friend Ding Gagelonia described as "Hayden-gate", let me divert your attention a little bit and talk about a scandal which happened in Ajuy Iloilo. This scandal involves an alleged collusion between a suspected mastermind and those of the provincial prosecutor's office. This despicable travesty of justice happened reportedly with the full knowledge of Department of Justice secretary Raul Gonzales.

Last May 22, 2008, Ajuy Iloilo vice mayor Ramon Rojas was shot and killed by paid assassins in Barangay Central. Rojas was shot nine times in the head and body, at close range. He died on the spot.

Four months later, one of the assassins by the name of Dennis "Totong" Cartagena was arrested. In a six-page affidavit, Cartagena revealed how his group tracked and killed the vice mayor. He also pointed to a certain Vicente "Etik" Espinosa as the mastermind, a first cousin of the victim.

Cartegena swore before Iloilo prosecutor Nora Causing-EspaƱola that Espinosa planned the assassination shortly after the May 2007 elections. Espinosa reportedly hatched the plan in his house in Barangay Lantajan. It was only in April 2008 when Espinosa gave the go-signal for the killing of Rojas. Espinosa gave Cartagena and his accomplice, a robber by the name of Edgar Cordero money to track down and kill the vice mayor.

A month after, the assassins received news about Rojas. They saw the vice mayor jogging. They went out and shot the victim close range. They escaped.

Cartegena said he received 30,000 pesos from one of Espinosa's associates as payment for his participation in the murder. Cartagena was the former bodyguard of Espinosa. He drove the get-away motorcycle which the gunman, a certain Edgar Cardero rode after killing Rojas. Cardero was killed in a firefight with policemen while resisting arrest.

With this extrajudicial confession, police amended the murder rap and included Vicente "Etik" Espinosa's name in the complaint sheet.

Five months later, Iloilo prosecutor Bernabe Dusaban issued a resolution flatly dismissing the confession of Cartagena and absolved Espinosa allegedly due to "weak evidence".

Last March, the Rojas family filed a motion to dismiss Dusaban's resolution before the office of Department of Justice secretary Raul Gonzales. It has been two months and nothing was heard about the motion.

Why is Gonzales sitting on the Rojas' motion?

Sources say Etik, also nicknamed the "bulldog", is a very close associate of Gonzales. He served as Gonzales' "strong arm" during the time when he served as Congressman.

Gonzales, as what some Iloilo-based journalists whispered, is running for the post of mayor of Iloilo. Raul Gonzales Jr. is now the incumbent local executive.

Dusaban, by the way, is the lead prosecutor who reportedly exonerated the Balasan boys from drug charges. A motion was filed in opposition, which Gonzales reportedly dismissed.

In the Rojas case, Prosecutor Dusaban is being accused of favoring Espinosa. He reportedly maintains a very close friendship with the alleged mastermind Espinosa and once served as 18 roses in the debut of one of Espinosa's kids.

By the way, Rojas is just the first politician whom Espinosa planned to kill. Espinosa, Cartegena revealed, reportedly plotted to kill Ajuy Mayor Juancho Alvarez, provincial board member Jett Rojas, and town councilors Pepe Dumayao, Pepe Baterna and Punong Barangay Ronnie Banas.

More explosive material very soon...

By the way, I remember one passage in the Old Testament. It goes like this, " an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

If these allegations are indeed true, and this Etik Espinosa is really involved and violence seems to be his "hobby", he better clean his act altogether because God does not forget and God, the Almighty always task His avengers to exact justice.