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Wee’s ‘killers’face charges

Iris Hazel M. Mascardo (The Freeman) - December 11, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Murder charges have been filed against former military man Fausto Edgar Benigno Peralta and five other alleged cohorts believed to be behind the daylight murder of lawyer Joey Luis Wee last November 23.

Last Wednesday, elements of the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Peralta in Cabuyao City, Laguna amid a bureau-wide pursuit of the perpetrators.

The NBI-7, which pressed the murder charges against the suspects under Article 248 in relation to Article 8 of the Revised Penal Code, positively identified Peralta based on the pieces of evidence recovered through CCTV footages and statements of witnesses.

It also identified the back-up triggerman as certain John Raymond Suarez; the driver of the getaway vehicle, Randy Benito Palparan; and two other cohorts who possibly tailed on Wee on the day of the murder.

Also charged was an unidentified mastermind behind the murder.

NBI-7 Director Atty. Rennan Oliva said further investigation revealed that Peralta was a former member of the military who entered the service last 1985 and resigned in 1990. He presently serves as officer-in-charge of Golden Sun Security Agency, which is based in Manila.

Actual Murder

During the press conference, NBI-7 supervising agent Wenceslao Galendez Jr. presented the chronological order of the CCTV footages retrieved during their investigation.

"Taking the into account of the appearance of the subject, the killers, during the actual execution or shooting of Attorney Wee, we backtracked on the CCTVs in the crime scene and the vicinity of Alchi Building (Wee's law firm building),” said Galendez.

Galendez said that as early as 10:29 a.m. of November 23, the suspects were already spotted and believed to have been conducting their “final casing.” For a few minutes, several CCTV footages showed that one of the suspects was walking back and forth within the vicinity of the building while talking to someone on his phone.

"After, we can see him boarding the Toyota Vios (getaway vehicle). The other suspect (Peralta) also boarded the Toyota Vios at 10:49 in the morning," said Galendez.

The suspects then left the crime scene and came back and parked the same Toyota Vios across the building at 11:56 a.m. At this same time, a motorcycle believed to have been another getaway vehicle was seen passing through the same street.

Later that afternoon, Attorney Wee arrived boarding his vehicle. Two primary triggermen were captured in a CCTV during the actual shooting and then boarded the Toyota Vios.

Investigation later revealed that the motorcycle and Toyota Vios were found parked at a pension house where the suspects allegedly stayed.

When NBI-7 agents traced the vehicle, it turned out to be a car for rent. Peralta allegedly promised to return the vehicle at 2 p.m. that same day. All the suspects were also seen entering the same pension house where they were staying.

From the identification cards provided at the car rental shop, Peralta was identified. His alleged back-up triggerman, Suarez, was also identified through the airline tickets booked in Cavite prior to their arrival in Cebu City.

During the bureau-wide operation, the NBI Laguna received information that Peralta was seen in Cabuyao City two days after Wee’s murder.

"Our investigation will still continue to identify the John Does. Included in these John Does is the mastermind of the said killing of Attorney Wee...so we are waiting for the warrants against Suarez and Palparan,” said Oliva.

Motive

Oliva said that the pieces of evidence gathered, including testimonies, pointed to a work-related motive behind the murder of Wee. They are looking into the cases that Wee had handled.

"At this point, we cannot divulge what particular case because we are building the case on the mastermind," said Oliva.

NBI-7 assistant director Atty. Dominador Cimifranca said that basing on their initial analysis, the murder was well-planned and well-executed considering that suspects were not from Cebu City.

Authorities, however, are not discounting the possibility that they might have a local contact from the city who helped them out in executing their plans.

Police SITG

Cebu City Police (CCPO) chief and Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) Commander Police Colonel Josefino Ligan said even with these developments, they will continue with their investigation. NBI-7 earlier emphasized that it is not in competition with the PNP to solve the case.

"It's a good and welcome development nga naa na silay nadakpan, at least hayag na ang kaso ni Attorney Wee but on the side of the police sa atoang na capture sa CCTV didto, we saw na there were 4 persons na involved so we will not stop until ma-identify ug makuha nato ang mga persons involved,” Ligan said.

After Wee's wife had positively identified suspects Suarez and Peralta to the NBI-7, Ligan also hopes that she could also coordinate with SITG's investigation.

According to Ligan, they have also a “good lead” in their investigation, which they hope will also coincide with NBI-7's investigation.

Ligan further said that they are open for coordination with the NBI-7 to fast-track the solving of the case as they are also set to meet with them. — JMD (FREEMAN)

MURDER
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