Archival Case, Another HPG officer denies kill
Ria Mae Y. Booc, Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - May 22, 2014 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines -  Police Chief/Insp. Eduardo Mara, one of those tagged in the ambush-slay of lawyer Noel Archival, has also denied the charges against him formally through a counter-affidavit.

 He said he has just been dragged into the controversy “solely because of my command responsibility and by virtue of my office.”

 Mara, along with Police Senior/Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, Police Senior/Insp. Joselito Lerion, SPO4 Edwin Galan and PO1 Alex Bacani, are facing multiple murder and frustrated murder charges for allegedly killing Archival in Dalaguete town February this year.

 Mara said the National Bureau of Investigation-7 failed to pinpoint his alleged participation in the crime.

 â€œâ€¦the complaint miserably failed to allege my exact participation of the crime charged. At best, I am unduly dragged and implicated through and by means of a mere baseless and illogical inference solely because of my command responsibility and by virtue of my office, which are short of evidences required and necessary to support a finding of probable cause for purposes of preliminary investigation,” Mara said in his 11-page counter-affidavit.

 He said he was in Cebu City doing his duties on the day of Archival’s ambush.

 He said that about 9 a.m. that day, he went to the impounding area of RHPU7 in Sudlon, Lahug with some members of PHPT-Cebu to discuss developments on the ongoing construction of the proposed Cebu Provincial Highway Patrol Team Office. He stayed there until 11:15 a.m.

 From there, he reportedly returned to Camp Sotero Cabahug to work. He claimed it was impossible for him to be at the crime scene.

 Mara also said that contrary to NBI’s statement that he was an impounding area chief and/or custodian of the impounded motor vehicle at Sudlon, Lahug, his designation was actually deputy regional chief of RHPU7, provincial officer of PHPT-Cebu, clearance officer and administrative officer.

 Lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, the counsel of the respondents, said his clients are able to justify their whereabouts during the ambush, as supported by photos, documents and other evidences.

 Meanwhile, Iglesia in his counter-affidavit denied the allegations of the NBI. He emphasized that during the initial investigation into the case, the primary suspects were either Archival’s clients Ruben Ecleo, former congressman of Dinagat Island; and/or his client a drug suspect who dismissed him as his counsel.

 Iglesia has also denied the allegations and said that during initial investigation, HPG7 or any of its members were never mentioned as suspects or having anything to do with the ambush.

 â€œIt must be noted that Brgy. Coro in Dalaguete where Atty. Archival was ambushed is a stronghold of Philippine Benevolent Missionary Associationwhere Congressman Ruben Ecleo is the Supreme leader and the place where the slain body of Ecleo’s wife was dumped,” his counter- affidavit reads.

 â€œIt is also rumored that Atty. Archival received the amount of P5 million from Ecleo in exchange for his promise that no warrant of arrest would be issued against Ecleo by the court. However, a warrant of arrest was still issued by the court contrary to the promise of Atty. Archival which prompted Ecleo to demand the return of his money. However, Atty. Archival refused and did not return the money,” the affidavit reads further.

 But lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu, counsel of Achival’s family, said Iglesia has no basis in dragging Ecleo’s name.

 Dalawampu said all they wanted is justice for the victims. Aside from that, she said mentioning the disbarment of one of the investigators of the NBI as a motive in pinning the respondents down is devoid of truth.

 Special Investigation Task Grouphead Sr. Supt. Noel Gillamac said all angles of the case are being looked into, including Iglesia’s statement on Ecleo.

“Before we pinpoint, we need evidence and we cannot just charge anybody… Ecleo’s case is part of the investigation,” Gillamac said. — (FREEMAN)

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