9 cops in Calbayog mayor’s slay released

Miriam Desacada - The Philippine Star

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — A court in Samar has ordered the release of nine dismissed policemen charged in connection with the killing of Calbayog Mayor Ronald Aquino and his security escorts in March 2021.

Samar Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 33 Judge Janet Cabalona issued the release order on Friday after the suspects posted bail of P120,000 each.

Harry Sucayre, Shyrile Co Tan, Dino Goles, Julio Armeza, Neil Cebu, Edcel Omega, Niño Salem, Julis Garcia and Randy Merelos were released from their detention cell at around 4 p.m. on Friday, Cpl. Alexis Demillo of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group told The STAR yesterday.

RTC Branch 31 Judge Maricar Lucero granted bail to the respondents before she inibited herself on the case.

Private prosecutor Alma Uy-Lampasa, who had filed a motion for reconsideration on the grant of bail, said the accused could not be released until a new judge takes on the case.

“It was a shock for the private complainants that Judge Janet Cabalona ordered the release of the accused even though she is not the judge handling the cases and there is a pending motion for reconsideration,” Lampasa said.

She said the complainants would file a case against Cabalona for gross ignorance of the law.

Aquino was on his way to attend the birthday party of his son when they were ambushed.

His security escort Rodeo Stario and driver Dennis Abayon as well as bystander Clint Paul Yauder were killed in the gun attack. Aquino’s security aide Mansfield Laboni was wounded.

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