PCG officer tagged in cop’s 1997 slay falls
Bebot Sison Jr., Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) officer, wanted for the murder of a police inspector in Aparri, Cagayan in November 1997, was finally arrested by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents at the Navy port facility in Sangley Point, Cavite recently.

The STAR learned that the NBI traced Vicente Marcelo Lampas as the commanding officer of the Navy port facility. He was one of the accused in the killing of Inspector Domingo Piopongco Jr. on Nov. 19, 1997 outside a bar in Aparri, Cagayan.

Piopongco’s father Domingo Sr., 72, said Lampas, along with PCG chief petty officer Melchor Laylo and Dominador Borgonia Jr., is facing murder and frustrated murder charges before the Cagayan regional trial court. The warrant for his arrest was issued on Feb. 7, 2000.

Laylo and Borgonia have long been arrested. 

Records show that Laylo, Borgonia and Lampas, who then held the rank of lieutenant senior grade and was based in Cagayan, had an altercation with the young Piopongco and his friends.

After the verbal tussle, Lampas’ group left while Piopongco and his friends opted to transfer to another place. But while Piopongco’s group was about to settle in the second bar, a commotion ensued outside and he went out to check it. 

Piopongco, however, was met with a hail of M-16 bullets allegedly fired by Lampas. Piopongco was killed on the spot while his friends were wounded.

The elder Piopongco said his family was thankful to the NBI agents for the arrest of Lampas.

He, however, lamented that justice seems to still elude them as Lampas was placed under the custody of the base commander of the Navy facility in Sangley Point where he serves as the commanding officer.

In a two-page return of the service of order of arrest dated June 10, Col. Aaron Fetalvero, commander of the Navy’s Cavite base, informed the court that Lampas was restrained and placed under his custody and that he would produce Lampas whenever he would be needed in court.

The elder Piopongco said such custody is not customary and was unusual for military personnel because Lampas is facing a non-bailable offense.

He said Lampas should be confined in a detention facility managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology as ordered by the court.

“Why did the NBI allow Lampas to be placed under the custody of the base commander of the Navy facility where (he) is the commanding officer?” he said.

“There seems to be a double standard of justice or VIP treatment in the case of Lampas. Justice must be served,” he added.

A PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD AARON FETALVERO APARRI BORGONIA AND LAMPAS BUREAU OF JAIL MANAGEMENT AND PENOLOGY CAVITE DOMINGO SR. LAMPAS PIOPONGCO SANGLEY POINT
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