By Jeffrey Damicog
Three policemen suspected to be involved in the murder of Quezon City Deputy Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco were given until February 19 to respond to the accusations leveled against them.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong, who is handling the case, set the date as he began yesterday (Jan. 28) the preliminary investigation on the murder complaint against SPO2 Rodante Sicat Laimarmo, PO3 Arthur Yasonio Lucy, and PO1 Jose Lunar Mercado.
“They are given until Feb. 19 to file their respective counter-affidavits,” Ong told reporters.
The complaint was initially filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office back in Sep. 4, 2018.
However, Ong explained the lawyers of the respondents sought the transfer of the case to the Department of Justice (DOJ) due to concerns of bias.
“There was a motion to inhibit the handling prosecutor in Quezon City that’s why the Secretary of Justice has assigned the case to me,” said Ong who has been designated as acting Quezon City Prosecutor for the purpose of conducting of the preliminary investigation of the complaint.
Ong said the case will be submitted for resolution if the complainant no longer intends to file a reply to the counter-affidavits.
If the complainant demands, Ong said he will allow the reply to be filed on March 11 and the respondents can file a rejoinder in response on March 25.
In the meantime, the NBI is still trying to identify seven other persons involved in the killing of Velasco who was killed on May 11, 2018 in an ambush in front of the Abu Persian Kitchen along Don Antonio St. in Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City.
Velasco was still rushed to the East Avenue Medical Center, but he was declared dead on arrival due to multiple gunshot wounds.
NBI investigators said they were able to identify the suspects with the help of witnesses as well as footages from closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the Quezon City Memorial Circle which was used by the suspects’ staging area.
Based on CCTV footage, the suspects entered the Quezon City Memorial Circle using a white Innova as well as black Toyota Fortuner.
Calub said the suspects left the Quezon City Memorial Circle some 15 to 20 minutes prior to the commission of the crime.