A year had passed, the cold-blooded murder of a radio blocktimer and businessman, Engr. Maurito Ramirez Lim, that marred Valentine’s Day—the supposed day of Love, remains onÂ it’s pre-trial stage.
The victim—also popular as “Chairman Mao”—was felled by a single bullet fired by a man later nabbed in a drug buy-bust operation.
A certain Jovani Celocia Orenia has been tagged in the killing, using a caliber .45 handgun right in front of radio station DYRD along B. Inting St. before he could get out of his vehicle to proceed to his 11AM radio program “Chairman Mau on Board Banat” which he co-hosted with former OIC governor, Lawyer Victor Dela Serna.
Lim was shot while inside his maroon Isuzu Crosswind vehicle and died a few hours later at the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital. Lim was 71 years old.
According to the records of the case docketed as Criminal Case No. 17514 for murder filed against Orenia, two scheduled preliminary conferences had been cancelled and reset due to the failure of the prosecutor to appear during the pre-trial conferences.
Assistant City Prosecutor Fara Ricarda Parras-Matuod, citing medical reasons, filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 2 Presiding Judge Jennifer Chavez-Marcos, a motion for postponement. The next pre-trial conference is reset at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday next week, February 24.
As prayed by Orenia’s legal counsel, Lawyer Carlo Carandang, the court “notes the fact that this is the second time that this case was called for pre-trial conference and the prosecution failed to appear”. The cancelled pre-trial conferences were set on October 8, 2015 and December 2, 2015.
The court also reminded the prosecution of the constitutional right of the accused to a speedy trial.
COLD BLOODIED MURDER
An information for the crime of murder under article 248 of the Revised Penal Code was filed by Assistant City Prosecutor Fara Ricarda Parras-Matuod on April 14, 2015 against Orenia for “willfully, unlawfully and feloniously” with “premeditation and treachery” and “not giving the victim any chance to defend himself and with intent to kill, shot Engr. Maurito Ramirez Lim”.
But Orenia standing before Presiding JudgeÂ Chavez-Marcos on August 17 last yearÂ pleaded not guilty during arraignment proceedings after his motion to quash was denied.
Orenia is also facing criminal charges before the Special Drugs Court under RTC Branch 4 Presiding Judge Sisinio C. Virtudazo for alleged violations of Section 5 and 11, Article ll of RA 9165 known as the “Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002”.
Police authorities, led by Police Provincial Director Dennis Agustin, launched a massive manhunt against Orenia after a military asset tipped off the police about the identity of a person who had personal knowledge on the whereabouts of Orenia who was pointed by a lone eyewitness of the murder and two close friends of Lim.
Orenia was arrested by “Task Force Mau” led by Police Senior Inspector Jojit Mananquil, chief of the Provincial Intelligence Branch of the Bohol Police Provincial Office during a buy-bust operation on March 6, 2015, 21 days after Lim’s cold-blooded murder.
However, Orenia claimed that the buy-bust operation leading to his arrest “did not actually happen and he was merely a victim of frame-up as a way of solving another crime where he was the primary suspect”.
According to police officers who carried out the buy-bust operation, Orenia was allegedly caught in possession of a .45 caliber Colt pistol, two magazines for .45 caliber pistol and 11 live .45 caliber bullets.
The joint police team allegedly found Orenia in possession of a caliber .45 Colt pistol tucked in the waistline of his knee-length shorts and 11 rounds of live ammunitions and 11 plastic packs of methamphetamine hydrochloride known as shabu weighing .22 grams.
According to a Firearms Identification Report No. FAIS-42-2015, the cartridge case fired from a caliber .45 recovered from the crime scene on February 14, 2015 “revealed the same residual characteristics with the test cartridge cases fired from the caliber .45 Colt pistol recovered from Orenia.
The result of the crossmatching Â examination bolstered the police case against Orenia who hails from Barangay San Carlos, Danao in Bohol who was also tagged by the security guard on duty at the time of the killing and two close friends of Lim.
Violyfer Casimsiman of Bisda Barte Investigation Security Detective Agency who was on duty at DYRD studio told police investigators that before the suspect left the crime scene on board a motorcycle “he looked back at me twice, this time the cloth that partly covered his face was lowered thereby exposing his face”.
Casimsiman further testified that “when he boarded his motorcycle, he again looked at me and I clearly saw his face and had clear picture of his eyes, nose and mouth”.
Orenia was positively identified by Casimsiman from a police rogue gallery picture no. 14. in his sworn statement to the police. Casimsiman further stated that “I was stunned because it seems as if I was looking [at] the same person whom I saw outside the driver’s seat of Engr. Lim when he was shot on February 14, 2015”.
A joint affidavit executed by Police Senior Inspector Jacinto Mandal Jr., the then chief of the Criminal Investigation Section of the Tagbilaran City Police Station (TCPD), and PO1 Jeus Francis Monton, criminal investigator at the TCPD, said that friends of Lim saw a suspicious man in the vicinity of a restaurant inside the Tagbilaran Integrated Bus Terminal in Barangay Dao, a day before the murder, “believed to be spotting the victim in the place but later disappeared when the victim, Engr. Lim, was not yet around”.
The witnesses picked picture No. 14 from a rogues gallery of the Bohol District Jail in Talibon and identified Orenia, who at that time was convicted and detained for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives.
Orenia entered into a plea bargain deal and was granted probation that would have taken effect in March 2015.
With the third pre-trial conference set on February 24, the quest for justice for the murdered radio broadcaster will painstakingly move forward that will bring to light, the motive of the perpetrators behind the slaying of “Chairman Mao”.Â (Chito M. Visarra)