By Aaron Recuenco
Police authorities are readying murder and frustrated murder charges against Dennis Sytin, the younger brother of businessman Dominic Lim Sytin after he was tagged by the gunman as the mastermind in the killing of Dominic in Olongapo City last November.
“From all indications, this high-profile murder of Dominic Lim Sytin was apparently motivated by rivalry among corporate siblings and carried out through a gun-for-hire contract with a hitman,” said PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde in a press briefing.
Dominic, the founder and president of United Auctioneers Incorporated (UAI), a company engaged in the importation of secondhand vehicles was gunned down on November 28 last year outside the Lighthouse Hotel at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA). Dominic died on the spot from four gunshot wounds, with a fatal bullet to the head.
His security escort, Efren Espertero was also wounded in the attack.
Albayalde said Dennis appeared to have ordered the hit over a squabble on the share and operation of UAI.
Director Amador Corpus, head of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), said the breakthrough in the murder case occurred on February 4 when a walk-in witness gave police a description of the gunman.
The witness was reportedly buoyed by the P1 million reward offered by the family of Dominic for any information that could lead to the arrest of the suspect.
As the investigators tried to reconstruct the image of the gunman based on the description of the witness and the information they obtained from other witnesses, they were able to establish the identity of Edgardo Luib of Imus town of Cavite who uses the alias Injeck.
A background check showed Luib as a hired killer. He collared in a raid in the house of his live-in partner in Sto. Tomas, Batangas on March 5.
Seized from him were a Carbine, a .40 caliber pistol and a .45 pistol which the police said had matched the two slugs and nine fired cartridges recovered in the crime scene.
“Luib’s fingerprint standard also matched the latent prints lifted from the side mirror of the getaway Yamaha Mio motorcycle used in the shooting,” said Albayalde.
“With these ‘smoking gun’ evidence, we now have an airtight case that we will file in court against gunman Luib, and all those who conspired for the hit job on
Dominic Lim Sytin,” he added.
It was Dennis
In front of his family and legal counsel, Albayalde said Luib made an extra-legal confession where he named Dominic’s younger brother Dennis as the mastermind.
Luib alleged that he met Dennis through his childhood friend, Ryan Rementilla.
The first meeting occurred sometime in August in a beach resort at the SBMA where he was allegedly given P10,000. He was given another P10,000 during a second meeting.
And during his stay at the SBMA two days before the killing of Dominic, Corpus said Luib was given P30,000.
“The total contract price was P1 million but according to him (Luib), he only received a total of P50,000,” said Corpus.
Corpus believes the P1 million contract money was already paid to Rementilla who suddenly disappeared after Dominic’s death.
Corpus said Rementilla became an employee of UAI in 2001 and immediately became close with Dominic.
But Dominic knew him as “Oliver Fuentes” because according to Corpus, the latter could not reveal his real identity because of a pending arrest warrant for murder.
In August 2018, Dominic found out the real identity of Fuentes and fired him upon knowing that Fuentes duped him of close to P1 million in payment collections.
Rementilla then moved to the company of Dennis and it was then that the planning of Dominic’s murder allegedly started.
Luib and Rementilla are childhood friends and Rementilla knows Luib to be a hired killer.
A background check showed that Luib has two pending arrest warrants for murder, one of them for killing hard-hitting Batangas-based female journalist Mae Magsino.
Magsino was gunned down on April 13, 2015 in Barangay Balagtas in Batangas City.
Probers said her death had something to do with his stories critical of some government officials in Batangas.
Aside from Magsino, Luib was also reportedly hired contracted to kill Michael Caringal, a municipal councilor of Bauan town of Batangas.
“Based on the investigation, it was shown before the killing of Mr Dominic Sytin that there was an apparent dispute between brothers Dominic and the principal suspect Dennis,” said Chief Supt. Joel Napoleon Coronel, director of the Central Luzon regional police.
“Apparently, they were quarreling over shares or control of shares in the United Auctioneers International ” he added.
Dominic was the Chief Executive Officer of the UAI while Dennis was reportedly its Chief Operating Officer.
Based on the PNP’s investigation, United Auctioneers only has 5 shareholders with 20% shares each: Dominic, Dennis, their two other brothers, and their mother.
Corpus said the quarrel was so intense that Dennis was barred from entering the UAI premises.
On November 15 last year, Dennis was kicked out of the UAI after being accused of diverting some of the funds of the UAI to the new company he had set up.
Coronel said the last time they talked with Dennis was last month when the latter inquired about Dominic’s case.
In fact, Coronel disclosed that Dennis even cooperated with their investigation and told them that business rivalry with other business groups could be a possible motive.
During that time, police still had no clue on the possible involvement of Dennis although they already knew of the business dispute. .
“We believe that he is still here in the country. We also told the family of the new development of this case,” said Coronel.
Aside from Dennis, Rementilla and Luib will also be facing murder and frustrated murder charges.
But probers are still looking for other possible suspects, including a tipster who knew of the whereabouts and movement of Dominic hours before he was killed.