MANILA, Philippines – The convicted killer of a police official investigating policemen linked to alleged Pasig shabu flea market operator Amin Imam Boratong was sentenced to life in prison yesterday.
In his decision, Judge Abraham Borreta of Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 154 said Leonardo Capili conspired with three others in killing Chief Inspector Renato Marasigan, who was investigating fellow police officers tagged as Boratong’s coddlers at the time he was gunned down.
“The court tried to determine if the defense put up by the accused has merit and if it served him in good stead. But unfortunately for the accused, the court found his defense devoid of merit,” read the decision.
Borreta ordered Capili to indemnify the family of Marasigan P335,000 in actual damages and funeral expenses.
In his defense, Capili said he was cooking food for his daughter’s birthday at their house in Caloocan City when Marasigan was killed in Pasig three years ago.
However, Borreta ruled Capili failed to reveal his whereabouts between 6 a.m., when he left their house in Caloocan City, and when he returned at 9:30 a.m.
“(The defense of alibi) cannot be invoked by him (Capili) to extricate himself from criminal liability in the light of his positive identification by credible witnesses as one of the assailants of the late Renato Marasigan,” read the decision.
Records showed that Marasigan was in his Mitsubishi Pajero when he was waylaid by four suspects in front of the Malinao barangay hall on March 29, 2006.
Witnesses Enrique Gabrielles, a newspaper vendor, and Irma Cuaresma, a teacher, said they saw Capili among the four suspects but did not see him fire a gun at Marasigan.
Gabrielles, who was standing three meters away from the ambush site, said Capili was among the suspects who ordered people in the vicinity to lie face down on the pavement.
Cuaresma said she was rushing out of the barangay hall when she heard gunfire and saw Capili opening the door of Marasigan’s vehicle.
When a police sketch of Capili and two other suspects was flashed on television, an informant reported that Capili was in his house in Caloocan City and that police could take video footage of him.
When the video footage was shown to Cuaresma, she identified Capili, who police arrested on April 6, 2006.
In court, Marasigan’s widow, Venus, testified that two days before her husband was killed, she saw Capili leaning on a parked car along Intalan street in Pasig.
Capili bowed his head and hurriedly go into the parked car when their vehicle passed by, she added. In open court, Capili admitted he was indeed the man Venus saw.
Borreta dismissed Marasigan’s widow’s suspicion that policemen tagged as protectors of Boratong are behind her husband’s murder.