Murder raps versus ex-Iloilo town mayor, family members dropped for lack of sufficient evidence

Published May 2, 2022, 11:19 AM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY — Murder charges against a former town mayor and his family in Iloilo province have been dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.

During the November 2021 funeral of Claire Diergos in Guimaras province. The 36-year-old woman was the one killed in a high-profile murder in Iloilo province. (Photo courtesy of Jose Elmer Cajilig)

The Iloilo Provincial Prosecutors’ Office found insufficient evidence against former San Dionisio town Mayor Peter Paul Lopez, his wife Saliha ‘Sally’ Lopez, and their three sons Felix Paul Lopez, Carlos Paul Lopez, and Christian Paul Lopez.

The former mayor and his family were accused of killing Claire Diergos, a 36-year old businesswoman and a single mother.

Diergos was found dead inside her abandoned vehicle in Sta. Barbara town last October 26, 2021.

Based on initial investigation, Diergos was likely killed while inside her house in neighboring Pavia town and her body was only transported to Sta. Barbara town.

When the Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) filed the murder charges last January, it alleged that Diergos’ death was a crime of passion involving the former mayor and members of his family.

“We were certain the charges will be dropped because the evidence presented is not sufficient,” said Atty. Dwight Trasadas, the legal counsel for the Lopez family.

“The witnesses were clearly lying,” Trasadas told Manila Bulletin.

While none of the Lopez family members were indicted, prosecutors indicted Gardo Ibrahim, Raffy Sorioso and Ma. Rudelyn Sumbong for their alleged direct participation in the murder of Diergos.

Police claimed that Ibrahim and Sorioso are linked to the Lopez family.

Sumbong was Diergos’ newly-hired house helper, who initially claimed she was asleep in her room and did not hear or see anything the night Diergos was killed.