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According to cops, eyewitness: Vice mayor, 3 others linked to killing of village chairman

Rommel L. Rutor (The Freeman) - February 17, 2016 - 9:00am

CATBALOGAN CITY, Philippines —  Vice Mayor Joseph “Jojo” Grey of San Jorge town in Samar, his two sons and a former soldier who has been serving as bodyguard to the Grey family were tagged by police investigators and an eyewitness as suspects in the killing of Mabuhay Barangay Chief Romulo Barcoma last February 13.

Based on the police progress report, obtained by The Freeman, the police identified the vice mayor, his sons Stephen and Francis, and their bodyguard a certain Abawag, were allegedly seen to have boarded the vehicle that was used in the killing of Barcoma.

Joseph Grey is San Jorge town’s vice mayor and husband of the incumbent Mayor Nancy Grey. He is swapping position with his wife this coming May 9 elections.

According to the police, the identification of the suspects was based on the account of an alleged eyewitness, a certain Roberto Barcoma, 46, younger brother of the victim, who probers had allegedly established to be present near the place where the killing happened.

The “eyewitness” claimed that he personally saw the incident, and told the police  the suspects, after making sure that the victim was already dead, boarded in a gray four-wheeled vehicle, bearing plate number 0724.

The younger Barcoma told the police that, at about 11:55 a.m. that day, he and the victim met at the town center, and then the latter left ahead of him back to their barangay in Mabuhay.

“When I was navigating the highway near the vicinity of Sapinit, I saw my brother in a distance, and upon reaching the public cemetery I saw the suspect’s vehicle passed by at me, and when I reached the Abigos  Eatery area, that was the time that I heard gunshots. And as I continue, I saw my brother fell down the road pavement and the vehicle likewise stopped and the four suspects alighted from the vehicle to check on my  brother. I was only 80 to 100 meters away from the area, but I immediately went back towards Sapinit and informed my other brother Rolando, that our brother was killed by them,” said the statement of the witness that was given to the police investigators.

Murder charges against the four suspects are now being prepared by the San Jorge Police for filing in court, but might face some delay as the victim’s family requested for ample time to prepare their sworn statements, which were being tied up with the internment of the victim.

Meanwhile, a certain Ramil Bernales, brother of Mayor Nancy Grey, declared that the allegations against the Grey’s are unfounded and obviously laced with politics.

“They should not have done such (accusations), because these are not true. We have yet to get a copy of that (police) report, and yes we are going to answer these. We will just wait for the coming home of the mayor and the others because they are still in Tacloban,” he said.

Bernales statement was given when The Freeman tried to seek the comment and response of the vice mayor over the police report linking the municipal official and his family to the killing of the barangay chairman. (FREEMAN)

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