Cebu News

Suspect in Oberes slay wants case dismissed

Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – One of the six suspects in the killing of Philippine Air Force sergeant Mark Herbert Oberes last January 31 has asked the Carcar City Prosecutor’s Office to dismiss the arson complaint filed against him.

Engineer Joshua Garciano through his lawyer Rameses Victorius Villagonzalo filed yesterday a motion to dismiss the case.

"Respondent Garciano still maintains that witnessing the burning of a car (or even arson) is not a crime. Thus, this motion," read the motion.

Oberes' former girlfriend Resamie Cabañog, 20, and Garciano, 22, Cabañog's suitor, were sued before the City Prosecutor’s Office for allegedly burning the sergeant’s car where Oberes’ charred body was discovered.

Other suspects are Resamie’s mother Edna; a certain Tomas Isugan, who allegedly shot the victim and set his car ablaze; and two others.

Oberes, 37, was believed to have been mauled, stabbed, and shot before being burned alive in his own car in Barangay Valencia, Carcar City over two months ago.

Aside from arson, Garciano and Cabañog were charged with murder before the court.

During last month’s arraignment, both suspects, however, pleaded not guilty to charges of murder.

Garciano earlier claimed that he was present when Oberes was mercilessly beaten and set ablaze inside his own car.

But the 22-year-old suspect made it clear that his only participation was to drive the vehicle that transported the victim to the crime scene.

Garciano maintained his innocence, saying there was no evidence that would establish his participation in planning and in conspiring to kill Oberes.

In his motion, Garciano said the burning of the car subject of arson cannot be considered as a separate felony.

"It was made to conceal or disguise murder. Thus, the burning of the car is deemed absorbed in the murder charge which is now pending at Regional Trial Court 66 of Talisay City," read the motion.

Villagonzalo expressed their intent to turn Garciano into a state witness.

Task group

Meanwhile, police have formed a Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) to hasten the resolution of the murder of Alexander Alicaway, a municipal councilor of San Fernando, southern Cebu.

SITG is composed of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, Crime Investigation and Detection Group-7, Provincial Investigation Detection Management Branch, Crime Laboratory, Provincial Intelligence Branch, Legal Service, and San Fernando Police.

The group’s first case conference was held last Thursday.

“Nag-tasking na ang SITG na palawakin pa yung investigation. Last meeting ay nagkaroon na ng division tasking,” said CPPO Director Edgar Alan Okubo.

Okubo said they are now considering all angles, including politics, illegal drugs, and personal grudge.

Police Superintendent Virgilio Bayon-on, CPPO spokesperson, said they are reviewing all pieces of evidence, including surveillance footages.

The councilor was killed in an ambush by riding-in-tandem assailants near the public market in Barangay South Poblacion last March 14.

He succumbed to two gunshot wounds to his head resulting to his instantaneous death by unidentified assailants, who also carted away his jewelry and cellular phone. — Ermida Q. Moradas/KBQ (FREEMAN)

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