Freeman Region

Malabor slay case: Three witnesses identify policeman at crime scene

Marchel P. Espina - The Freeman

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – The three witnesses, including a minor, had positively identified the policeman who was at the crime scene on June 28 when Provincial Board Member Renato Malabor and his bodyguard Leody Jomilla were killed.

According to the affidavit, the first witness said that, hours before the shooting, he saw Police Officer 1 Robert Chloe Rito outside the cockpit at Barangay Guintubhan in Isabela town of Negros Occidental.

The witness, who joined the cockfight derby, said that when he went out of the arena, he saw a man — wearing a white shirt, short pants and a ball cap — seating at the tricycle, about four meters away, and busy texting on his cellphone. When the man took his cap off, the witness said he recognized the man as “Nonoy Rito,” a policeman assigned to the Isabela Municipal Police Station.

The witness said he called on Rito but the latter did not hear him. The witness further said he saw another man, on a motorcycle, who he identified as alias Wisdom, a nephew of Nonoy Rito.

The witness, in his affidavit, stated he was inside the cockpit when the bursts of gunfire were heard at around 1 a.m. Because of the shooting, some people at the cockpit went home, including his opponent at the derby. This prompted him to go home also.

In the morning, the witness said he went back to the cockpit and learned from the people there that the shooter was described to be wearing “white shirt, short pants and a ball cap.” He also learned from his friends that the suspect fled from the crime scene in a motorcycle.

The witness said he executed the affidavit on July 13 by his own free will and voluntary acts to support for the filing of the criminal complaint against Rito.

The second witness, in another affidavit, narrated he saw two people at the tricycle, parked outside the cockpit, the night before the incident. The one who was sitting at the driver’s seat was wearing white jacket and black pants while the other one on the driver’s seat was wearing white shirt and a ball cap.

The witness identified the man in a white shirt and a ball cap as a policeman, who he always saw at the Isabela Police Station, but he did not know the latter’s name. At around 1 a.m., the witness said he saw Malabor and Jomilla walked in front of him, on their way to their vehicle at the parking lot.

The witness said he greeted Malabor, who in turn replied, “Thank you.” He then stated, in his affidavit, that he saw two meters away from him a policeman walking behind the victims. Shortly after, the policeman ran towards Jomilla and shot the latter at the back.

The witness said when Jomilla fell, Malabor looked behind, but the policeman also shot the PB official and then the latter’s car, before running toward the highway. The witness said that, when shown with photos of all policemen in Isabela, he was able to identify Rito as the shooter.

The witness also said he executed the affidavit, and signed this on July 13, in his own freewill.

In another affidavit, the minor-witness said he and his cousin went to the cockpit at around 5 a.m., hours after the incident. The minor said they saw policemen were scouring the crime scene for any fired cartridges.

The minor narrated they saw a black wallet beside a rock at the grassy area, many denominations of peso bills and two identification cards. He stated in his affidavit that the ID has a word “Police” on it with the name “Rito.” He said another policeman approached and took the wallet from them, while reprimanding them for crossing the “police line.”

The minor said he did not know who took the wallet but he can remember his face. When showed with five pictures of the first responders from Isabela Police Station at the shooting incident, the minor identified Police Officer 1 Ariel Ansag. The minor, who was assisted by his father, subscribed and sworn the affidavit on July 24.

Meanwhile, the family of Rito, in an interview with ABS-CBN Bacolod, vehemently denied the allegations, as they believed the policeman has no involvement in the death of Malabor and Jomilla.

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