Former judge wanted for murder of colleague nabbed

Published October 10, 2020, 10:54 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

A former judge wanted for the murder of a fellow magistrate has been arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Supreme Court (SC) said Saturday.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez  informed Chief Justice Diosdado Peralda that the NBI arrested the fugitive identified as retired Judge Oscar Tomarong who had been assigned to a Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte.

Marquez said Tomarong is “accused of ordering the killing of his colleague, Judge 

(Reymar) Lacaya” who is assigned to the RTC of Liloy, Zamboanga.

“Judge Tomarong was a former agent of the NBI before his appointment as regional trial court judge,” noted Marquez, who added that the fugitive took an early retirement following the killing of Lacaya.

Marquez said he learned of the arrest from the report he received from NBI Deputy Director for Regional Operations Service Antonio Pagatpat.

Pagatpat told Marquez that Tomorong “surrendered due to extreme pressures from our teams closely monitoring his residence and possible hideouts.”

While still in the premises of the Liloy RTC, Lacaya was gunned down in the afternoon of May 9 last year by two gunmen only identified as “Jerry” and “Ramil.”

Prior to the shooting, the victim’s wife told NBI investigators that four days earlier on May 5, Lacaya told her that Tomarong got mad at him over some work-related concerns.

Marquez revealed that Tomarong was previously assigned to the Liloy RTC while Lacaya was a presiding judge at the Sindangan RTC.

Acting on derogatory reports concerning Tomarong, Marquez ordered Tomarong and Lacaya to switch places.

While at the Liloy RTC, Marquez said Lacaya found anomalies in many of the orders issued by Tomarong, including the release of illegal drugs suspects.

Because of this, Lacaya reversed many of the orders of his colleague and ordered the arrests of drug suspects released by Tomarong.

“Shortly after, Judge Lacaya was murdered,” said Marquez.

Following the killing, the NBI arrested in Mati, Davao Oriental on Sept. 2, 2019 one of the suspects who was identified as Juliver Cabating, who had served as Tomarong’s driver and errand boy.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage showed that Cabating, a job order personnel detailed with Lacaya at the time of the crime, met with Jerry and Ramil near the RTC that same day.