NCRPO puts up P.2-million reward for Ivler

- Nestor Etolle -

MANILA, Philippines - The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has raised an initial amount of P200,000 as a reward for information leading to the arrest of road rage murder suspect Jason Ivler.

“The amount was raised by friends and supporters of the NCRPO,” said NCRPO chief Director Roberto Rosales in an exclusive interview, adding the reward may be increased depending on the outpouring of support funds.

At the same time, Rosales said 11 police tracker teams had been dispatched by the NCRPO to find Ivler, who allegedly shot dead Renato Ebarle Jr., son of Presidential Chief of Staff Undersecretary Renato Ebarle Sr., during a traffic altercation on Nov. 18. He has remained at large since.

The younger Ebarle was buried yesterday, and his father vowed to help bring his killer to justice.

Police officers were earlier sent to one of the residences of Megan Aguilar, daughter of singer Freddie Aguilar, following reports that she could be harboring her cousin. However, Rosales said the information proved false since Megan does not own the house and only stayed there for two months.

Ivler, an American national, is a son of Freddie Aguilar’s sister by a previous marriage. Marlene Aguilar is now married to Asian Development Bank economist Stephen Pollard, who police said is not yet off the hook in the case related to Ebarle’s killing.

Rosales said Ivler’s relatives have not been cooperating with the police, but he is optimistic that with the cash reward, the public may provide leads to catch Ivler.

Pollard can be charged with obstruction of justice if it is proven that he is privy to the hiding of his stepson from authorities, according to police.

No contact

One of Ivler’s cousins, Senior Superintendent Antonio Gumiran, vowed to help authorities convince the suspect to surrender – once Ivler contacts him.

Gumiran was one of two police officers accused of harboring Ivler in 2004, when he tried to escape after figuring in a car accident along the C5 Road-Ortigas flyover wherein Presidential Technical Assistant for Resettlement Nestor Ponce was killed. The two police officers were cleared of the charges.

Gumiran’s father and Ivler’s mother are first-degree cousins.

“My last contact with (Ivler) was in 2004 when I turned him over to the (National Bureau of Investigation or NBI),” Gumiran said. “If I get to talk to him, I will convince him to surrender peacefully.”

Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Chief Superintendent Elmo San Diego said a close relative was coddling Ivler, but refused to name names.

San Diego said somebody could be “tipping off” Ivler about the raids on his relatives’ houses, or the person coddling him could be “familiar with how the police work.”

Ivler’s ma cries harassment

As police officers continue to search for Ivler, the suspect’s mother complained that the police have “harassed” those close to her son, but have yet to talk to her.

“How come none of these authorities have asked to speak to me? I’m Jason’s mother, after all,” she said in a statement.

“So far, two police cars have been seen following my brother Freddie Aguilar’s car. My nephews driving their cars have also been followed and questioned by the police and the NBI. My husband has also been pressured… to issue statements regarding Jason’s whereabouts… So far, the authorities have pursued, questioned, and harassed all those close to Jason. They have raided my home and my brother’s home using five armed vehicles, including the SWAT team,” she added.

Marlene also said her son is “a highly trained soldier” of the US Special Operations Command and had been deployed in Iraq.

“In order to survive that, a soldier must not only be highly skilled but coolheaded. So question number one, why would he shoot someone in public where there are several witnesses?” she said.

Marlene also questioned a statement by a policeman who witnessed the shooting, saying that his description of the gunman was “surprisingly so detailed” even if the attack happened at night.

Marlene also found it “strange” that her son’s name was in the news on the day of the launch of her book “against America’s warmongering.”

Her statement, however, did not address a statement given by another witness, who claimed Ivler threatened him with a gun for honking his horn in traffic the night before Ebarle’s killing. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Sandy Araneta, Reinir Padua

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