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Witness in Ruby Rose murder case missing

Cecille Suerte Felipe, Non Alquitran (The Philippine Star) - March 14, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) confirmed yesterday that the government’s witness in the murder of Ruby Rose Barrameda, sister of former beauty queen and actress Rochelle Barrameda, is missing.

Manuel Montero left the Regional Police Intelligence and Operations Unit (RPIOU) at the NCRPO headquarters in Bicutan, Taguig Saturday, according to NCRPO spokesman Chief Inspector Kimberly Gonzales.

Montero has been staying at the RPIOU since he surfaced in 2009 to testify in the killing of Ruby Rose.

“He was supposed to be in a safehouse but he opted to stay at the NCRPO,” Gonzales said.

Montero was admitted as a state witness under the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice after he linked several suspects to the murder of Ruby Rose.

NCRPO chief Director Leonardo Espina, meanwhile, said that Montero is a witness to the case and has no commitment order from any court.

“We are allowing him (Montero) to stay at the RPIOU building because he is a witness to a controversial case. In fact, it was the NCRPO that’s shouldering his food and other personal needs,” he said.

Espina ordered RPIOU chief Superintendent Ronald Lee to locate Montero and bring him back to the NCRPO.

Montero retracts

Montero, 58, reportedly went missing after he recanted his testimony on the Ruby Rose slay case.

Montero’s recantation was contained in a four-page notice of withdrawal of consent and testimony submitted to the Malabon Regional Trial Court Branch 170 Tuesday.

Montero said that his accusation against Ruby Rose’s father-in-law Manuel Jimenez Jr., his brother Lope and their alleged henchmen Eric Fernandez, Robert Ponce, and Leonard “Spyke” Descalso were “lies and fabricated.”

He said that “someone” ordered him to issue two affidavits on May 18 and June 11, 2009, implicating the five accused.

Body in drum

Montero helped authorities in locating Ruby Rose’s body, which was recovered on June 10, 2009 in the waters of Navotas City inside a steel drum. She went missing in March 2007.

He admitted he was among those who were paid P50,000 each to kill Ruby Rose on March 12, 2007. Montero surrendered to the police on May 18, 2009.

The suspect-turned state witness said the order to kill the victim came from Jimenez and his younger brother Lope, a shipping magnate in Navotas City and owner of Buena Suerte Jimenez Fishing and Trading Co., the property where the steel drum containing Ruby Rose’s body was found.

Ruby Rose’s husband, Manuel Jimenez III, has been cleared of involvement in the killing.

In 2010, the Barramedas asked the court to reconsider a ruling listing Montero as among the suspects. The motion was granted.

Meanwhile, the Volunteer Against Crime and Corruption held a Mass yesterday at the University of Perpetual Help in Las Piñas City to remember the sixth death anniversary of Ruby Rose. – With Aie Balagtas See

BUENA SUERTE JIMENEZ FISHING AND TRADING CO CHIEF INSPECTOR KIMBERLY GONZALES DIRECTOR LEONARDO ESPINA ERIC FERNANDEZ LAS PI MONTERO NAVOTAS CITY ROSE RUBY RUBY ROSE
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