PNP’S task force Archival, NBI disagree: Patrol Group cops suspect in slay?
Ria Mae Y. Booc, Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - March 21, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The National Bureau of Investigation-7 yesterday served a search warrant against the officials of the Highway Patrol Group-7, believed to be in possession of the impounded vehicles allegedly used in the ambush-slay of lawyer Noel Archival in Dalaguete town, last month.

And while the NBI said they have found suspects, the PNP said this was not so with how they looked at it.

One of four vehicles subject to the search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Soliver Peras, was allegedly found positive. The red Toyota Corolla Vios with license plate numbers GSC 675 is now under the custody of the NBI.

NBI Regional Director Max Salvador told reporters that the seizure of the vehicle is another step to the solution of the murder of Archival and his staff Candido Miñoza and Alejandro Jayme. Another of his staff, Paulo Cortez, was wounded in the attack.

Archival and his companions were onboard a Ford Escape SUV heading back to Cebu City from Dumaguete City when they were ambushed in Barangay Corro, Dalaguete town, last February 18. Archival had just come from a hearing representing Jesuslou Elcarte Alegria, the alleged mastermind of a pawnshop heist, before RTC Branch 38 in Dumaguete.

HPG-7 chief Superintendent Romualdo Iglesia, Senior Inspectors Eduardo Mara and Joselito Lerion and SPO4 Edwin Galan were named in Peras search warrant.

Peras ordered NBI to conduct an immediate search of the impounding area of the HPG in Sitio Sudlon, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

NBI-7 personnel, led by lawyers Renan Oliva and Erme Monsanto, in coordination with the Special Task Group of the Philippine National Police served the warrant at around 11 a.m. It was received by Galan at 11:37 a.m. The STG is also investigating Archival's case.

Galan said he was surprised that he was included in the search warrant. As chief clerk of Provincial Highway Patrol Team, he said he only supervised his people and had no hand in the impounded vehicles.


The suspect Toyota Corolla Vios was forcibly opened by a locksmith using a wire in the presence of the NBI and the media.

Inside the vehicle, the NBI found bags, umbrella, slippers, a commemorative "PNP 111" plate, a golf bat, and documents, among others. The documents include a furnished copy of a motion for extension filed by Jane Catherine Go and Chris Reinz through Archival before the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor addressed to Lerion.

The HPG earlier filed a complaint for carnapping, anti-fencing law and illegal transfer of vehicle license plate numbers against the two.

Salvador said the said document is a great help in their investigation.

"That is a good twist and a nice lead. We will be asking them (the subject of the search warrant)," he said, adding the bureau is set to issue a subpoena against suspects Iglesia, Mara, Lerion and Galan.

Noel's brothers, Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival and Talamban councilman Nelson Archival, said they were happy with the developments, but admitted the family of the lawyer is still grieving.

Based on a report, Maria Paz Yu, through lawyer Archival, filed administrative and criminal complaints before the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices against Iglesia and 13 others for dishonesty, grave misconduct and falsification of public documents for allegedly falsifying a plate number of the vehicle she owned.

Archival said Yu's Honda Jazz was impounded because its plate number, JZN 100, allegedly belonged to a vehicle owned by Kudos Trucking.

However, Archival earlier said in a report that they obtained Land Transportation Office-7 documents showing that the plate number of the vehicle owned by Kudos Trucking is YET 868 and not JZN 100.

Elimination process

Even as the NBI already called them suspects, Special Investigation Task Group head, Senior Supt. Noel Gillamac said that the search warrant implemented against the HPG officials does not necessarily make them suspects in the killing, but it is only part of the elimination process.

Gillamac admitted that the HPG was once part of the task group but during the investigation, they decided to exclude them after getting information that they could be involved.

"We are also looking into the cases filed by Atty. Archival against the HPG as well as the family's side kay there are some insinuations, but to avoid biases we look into all angles of the case as part of the elimination process," Gillamac said.

Gillamac said that even if the HPG was once a part of the task group it will not affect their investigation. —/BRP (FREEMAN)


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