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Metro

Driver charged for Ninoy killer’s death in hiding?

Perseus Echeminada - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A motorist charged for killing a former soldier convicted of assassinating former senator Benigno Aquino Jr. has cut off all contact with the police and his victim’s family and may be in hiding.

Air Force Staff Sergeant Diomedes Martinez told The STAR yesterday that Henry Roque, who identified himself as a Philippine Airlines (PAL) account executive, could no longer be contacted since his father, former master sergeant Pablo Martinez, died at the San Juan de Dios Hospital last May 6.

“We lost contact with the driver, he is not responding to text messages,” he said.

Parañaque police investigators confirmed that Roque could no longer be contacted after three witnesses surfaced and claimed they saw Roque deliberately run over Martinez after he hit the victim, who fell from his mountain bike along Roxas Boulevard on May 5.

“The (witnesses’) testimony against Roque is damning,” an investigator, who asked not to be named, said.

Parañaque police chief Senior Superintendent Ariel Andrada, in a final report on the case, said they have filed charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and damage to property with the city prosecutor’s office.

The elder Martinez was biking home along Roxas Boulevard at around 7:30 a.m. on May 5 when a black Mitsubishi Montero driven by Roque hit him and the impact threw him off his mountain bike.

Witnesses said that instead of stopping, the driver ran over Martinez as the victim was lying on the road, according to Diomedes.

Roque reportedly tried to escape but was apprehended by security guards in the area and turned over to the Parañaque police. He was later released when Martinez, who was brought to the hospital, was contacted by someone representing Roque and agreed to settle the case.

Martinez died of fractured ribs a day later. Diomedes said they never saw Roque after the incident but someone paid his father’s hospital expenses.

“We are not after money. We want justice, that’s why we are pursuing the case,” he said.

Diomedes said they want the charges to be upgraded to murder, based on the witnesses’ accounts, but Andrade said it is up to the city prosecutor to “evaluate the evidence we submitted.”

Martinez was among 16 soldiers convicted for Aquino’s killing but the only one granted conditional pardon by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after he confessed to participating in the assassination.

Martinez linked businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco to Aquino’s murder in his affidavit with the Public Attorney’s Office. Cojuangco has vehemently denied the allegation.

A PAL official, who declined to be identified, confirmed that Roque is employed with PAL. The official said the incident is being addressed, but it is still “a private case between Roque and the victim’s family.”

AIR FORCE STAFF SERGEANT DIOMEDES MARTINEZ

AQUINO

BENIGNO AQUINO JR.

COJUANGCO

DIOS HOSPITAL

HENRY ROQUE

MARTINEZ

ROQUE

ROXAS BOULEVARD

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