Shooting victim tagged in NCMH chief’s slay

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - January 1, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — One of the victims in an ambush in Quezon City on Tuesday is among the persons implicated in the murder of National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) director Roland Cortez and his driver in July last year.

George Serrano, 51, was charged along with seven other suspects for the killing of Cortez, Brig. Gen. Danilo Macerin, director of the Quezon City Police District, said yesterday.

“It’s confirmed based on our investigation. He is the same person,” Macerin said in an interview.

Macerin said investigators are checking if the ambush was related to the attack on Cortez and his driver, Ernesto de la Cruz, in Barangay Culiat, Quezon City on July 27 last year.

“That’s one of the angles that we are looking into,” Macerin said.

Serrano was the bodyguard of former NCMH administrative support chief Clarifa Avila, the alleged mastermind in Cortez’s murder.

Serrano and Avila were charged with two counts of murder.

According to probers, Avila reportedly sought revenge against Cortez who transferred her to another treatment facility in Las Piñas City after she spoke about the conditions of COVID-19 patients at the NCMH.

According to a police report, two men on a motorcycle fired at Serrano who was driving a Nissan Altera sedan in Barangay Pasong Putik, Quezon City on Tuesday.

Serrano was wounded while his companion, 45-year-old Luis Fernandez, was pronounced dead on arrival in the hospital.

Another passenger of the vehicle whom Macerin did not identify was unhurt in the attack.

They were on their way to the NCMH’s field office in Camarin, Caloocan City when they were attacked.

The court has yet to issue warrants for the arrest of Serrano in connection with the murder of Cortez, according to Macerin.

“That’s the reason why Serrano is still free,” the police official said.

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