One year since the crime Archival slay suspects still free
Grace Melanie I. Lacamiento, Mylen P. Manto (The Freeman) - February 18, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Exactly a year after lawyer Noel Archival and two others were gunned down in Dalaguete town, Camp Crame still has to give feedback as to the whereabouts of the former officials of the Highway Patrol Group-7 tagged as suspects in the crime.

The PNP national headquarters’ Personnel Holding and Accounting Section (PHAS) inside Camp Crame, Quezon City supposedly has custody of Senior Superintendent Romualdo Iglesia, Senior Inspector Joselito Lerion, and PO1 Alex Bacani after they were transferred there at the height of the investigation into the killing.

When the warrants of arrest came out, however, the policemen could no longer be found when the National Bureau of Investigation came there to serve the order.

Lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo, legal counsel of Paolo Cortes, the lone survivor of the attack, said Camp Crame has not updated them as to where the suspects are now.

“No communication coming from the Camp Crame as to their effort in locating their men,” he said, adding that Camp Crame created tracking teams to locate Iglesia, Lerion, and Bacani.

The three were identified as the killers of Noel, his driver Alejandro Jayme, and his bodyguard Candido Miñoza, after the victims were ambushed exactly a year ago today while they were in Barangay Coro, Dalaguete, Cebu on their way to Cebu City.

Villagonzalo said the NBI is also continuously tracking down the accused, with the national headquarters, aided by the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, leading the continuing manhunt operation.

While the Archival family feels frustrated and hurt since the three policemen remain at large, they have committed to continue seeking for justice.

Talamban, Cebu City barangay councilman Nelson Archival, brother of the slain lawyer, described Noel’s death as a “lingering pain” that would not go away as long as they live.

“Dili ni mawala ang kasakit. Presko pa kaayo ang nahitabo,” he said.

“They (Iglesia, Lerion, Bacani) claim they are innocent. They claim that our evidences are weak. But nganong nilayas man sila?” Nelson said.

Nelson challenged the officials of PHAS to answer why the three accused were unaccounted when the arrest warrant was served.

He also said they do not believe the claim of the defense lawyer that he does not know the whereabouts of his clients.

Nelson then urged the Iglesia, Lerion and Bacani to submit themselves to the court and prove they really are innocent.

“Wa ka’y sala nya modagan kaha ka? For what purpose nganong modagan ka? Why not face us?” he said.

While they pray that his brother and his companions will rest in peace even if justice has not yet been served yet, Nelson promised Noel that they will take good care of his family, especially his children.

“We know he cannot be replaced. Lahi ra gyud kun ang amahan gyud. These children are deprived of fatherly love and attention. Pinangga kaayo ni sila ni Noel,” Nelson said.

He also said they would not give up and are hopeful that the suspects would still be made to answer for their crime.

“We seek justice for our brother, his companions who died and who got wounded. Amo gyud ning humnon. Someday, kahibawo ko, maabot ra ta ana,” he said.

The Archivals and the families of Jayme and Miñoza are holding a Mass at the Angelicum Gardens of Angel Cemetery today to commemorate the anniversary of their passing.

Lawyer Democrito Barcenas, one of the legal counsels of the Archival family, said the 4:30 p.m. Mass would be celebrated by Reverend Monsignor Roberto Alesna.

On Regional Trial Court Branch 26 Judge Maximo Perez inhibiting from handling the multiple murder and frustrated murder cases against Iglesia, Lerion, and Bacani, Villagonzalo said they have filed a motion asking for the transfer of the case from Argao to Cebu City.—/RHM (FREEMAN)

ALEJANDRO JAYME ALEX BACANI ANGELICUM GARDENS OF ANGEL CEMETERY BACANI BARANGAY CORO CAMP CRAME CANDIDO MI CEBU CITY LERION
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