The charred remains of former Rep. Edgar Mendoza (Batangas) and his two companions were found in a burned vehicle in Tiaong, Quezon earlier this month.
Facebook/Edgar Mendoza
Money dispute eyed in killing of ex-lawmaker Edgar Mendoza
( - January 23, 2020 - 12:20pm

MANILA, Philippines — Police are eyeing money dispute between an inmate client and former Rep. Edgar Mendoza (Batangas, 2nd district) as a motive in the killing of the former lawmaker and his two companions in Tiaong, Quezon.

Police Brigadier General Joel Coronel, acting director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, identified Bilibid inmate Sherwin Sanchez Punzalan as the mastermind of the crime.

“Based on information we have gathered and statements of witnesses, the victim was ordered killed upon the instructions of principal suspect Sherwin Sanchez,” Coronel said.

Sanchez is a client of Mendoza, who was a practicing lawyer.

The charred remains of Mendoza, his driver Ruel Ruiz and bodyguard Nicanor Mendoza, were found in a burned vehicle in Tiaong, Quezon on January 9, a day after they left the lawyer’s home in Batangas City.

“On the day Congressman Mendoza disappeared, he was supposed to collect a sum of money from representatives of principal suspect in Calamba City,” Coronel explained.

“There was a disagreement on the amount to be collected,” Coronel also said.

The CIDG acting director said that it was revealed in the investigation that the suspect did not intend to pay the amount agreed by them.

Coronel said that Punzalan, who was convicted of murder in 2015, asked his fellow detainee Arthur Fajardo to have Mendoza killed.

Police also identified other suspects, who are now in police custody, in the killing as:

  • Jael Fajardo, wife of Arthur Fajardo
  • Madonna Palomar, Jael’s household worker
  • Kristine Fernandez, Jael’s runner, assistant
  • Carlo Acuña, hired killer
  • Erickson Balbastro, hired killer

Another suspect, Rodel Mercado, remains at large is now a subject of manhunt.

The CIDG said Fernandez served coffee with sleeping pills to the victims, and when the effects wore off, they were “stabbed and struck by hard objects in the head, causing their death.”

Complaints filed

PNP chief Gen. Archie Gamboa said that the CIDG has filed murder complaints against the suspects.

 “The CIDG has filed information for three counts of murder against six suspects before the Calamba City Prosecutor’s Office,” the PNP chief said.

“This case is considered solved and is now elevated to the prosecution arm of the justice system,” he added. — Kristine Joy Patag

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