By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has given the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) until March 11, 2019, within which to respond to the claim of three policeman-suspects that they were not behind the killing of a Quezon City prosecutor.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong issued the order after the three policemen – SPO2 Rodante Sicat Lalimarmo, PO3 Arthur Yasonio Lucy, and PO1 Jose Lunar Mercado – denied they were involved in the ambush-slay of Quezon City Deputy Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco on the May 11, 2018 in front of the Persian Kitchen in Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City.
“Respondents in this case are being charged with murder because of their alleged conspiracy in killing Deputy City Prosecutor Rogelio A. Velasco. Such conspiracy theory is baseless and unfounded,” read the counter-affidavit of Lalimarmo.
Ong is currently conducting a preliminary investigation on the complaint filed by the NBI against the three policemen.
On that fateful May 11, a white Toyota Innova with license plate XNR 256 blocked the path of Velasco’s vehicle and four armed men got out and fired at the victim.
NBI investigators said they were able to identify the suspects with the help of witnesses as well as the footage of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the Quezon City Memorial Circle which was used by the suspects as a staging area.
Based on CCTV footage, the suspects entered the Quezon City Memorial Circle using a white Innova as well as black Toyota Fortuner.
The suspects left the Quezon City Memorial Circle some 15 to 20 minutes prior the crime.
But in his counter-affidavit, Lalimarmo pointed out he does not know his other two co-respondents and he was not in Barangay Holy Spirit when the crime took place. His co-respondents also made the same claims.
“On May 11, 2018, respondent SPO2 Rodante S. Lalimarmo went inside the Quezon City Circle for the purpose of selling his Toyota Fortuner to a certain Manny Rivera,” he stated.
Lalirmarmo added that at that time, he “told Manny Rivera that he also wants to see how his Toyota Innova runs so they boarded the said Toyota Innova to have it test-driven.”
And when the shooting took place, Lalimarmo said he was “with Felimon Rodriguez Vlardo in LTO Novaliches for their buy-and-sell transaction, involving respondent’s Nissan Urvan.”
For his part, Mercado said he is assigned to the 1st Quezon Provincial Mobile Force Company in Quezon province and was on duty when the crime took place.
Lucy, on the other hand, said he was on duty at the Batasan Police Station of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) when the crime took place.