Negros mayor faces murder raps

Danny B. Dangcalan - The Philippine Star

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The Office of the Ombudsman has approved the filing of charges for murder and frustrated murder against Escalante Mayor Melecio Yap Jr., who was elected congressman of the first district of Negros Occidental.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said 14 other persons were named respondents in the complaints in connection with the killing of the supporters of former Escalante mayor Santiago Barcelona Jr. 

There was probable cause to file charges against Yap and his followers for the killing of Ferjun Damalerio, Armando Lutrago, Eric Matugas and Jury Alsado Sr. and the frustrated murder of Fernando Damalerio, a 20-page resolution penned by graft investigation and prosecution officer Laurrie Layne Cristobal stated.

Morales approved the resolution on May 18. 

Bernardino Patigas, Richard Patpat, Gregory Tuayon, Joel Villarin, Joey Llorente, JR Buhat, Jay Vargas, Hernando Llorente, Lorenzo Perolino, Rolando Llamata, Eleazar Navas and three others with aliases of Bob Soler, Renan and Bam-bam were suspected  members of the Roslyn Jean Pelle Command, a vigilante group with alleged ties to the New People’s Army (NPA).

The ombudsman said the charges against Superintendent Santiago Rapiz, Senior Police Officer 1 Angel Sinadjan and Yap’s security officer Arthur Tupas were dismissed after the complainants failed to substantiate their allegations. 

Politically motivated

Yap expressed confidence that the charges against him would not prosper.

“My conscience is clear and I have nothing to be afraid of,” Yap said. “Their allegations are very weak to indict me.”

He said the cases were politically motivated, noting that these were filed before the elections. 

In his counter-affidavit, Yap said he is not a supporter of the NPA.

He said Task Force Escalante created by the Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior and Local Government found no evidence of his participation in the killings. The other respondents were implicated because they were perceived as his close political allies, he added.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with