The chief security officer of Dagohoy Security Agency took back his statement that one of the alleged assailant of Atty. Manuelita “Mia” Mascarinas-Green is one of their security guards assigned at Alona Embrace Hotel and authorized to carry a shotgun and a caliber .38 revolver.
Juan Sebusa, Operations Manager of Dagohoy Security Agency executed an affidavit of recantation of previous declaration on March 6, 2017Â declaring that “a certain Romarigo T. Benegi-an is not connected with Dagohoy Security Agency and in fact, his name is not among those listed in the Social Security System (SSS) records of our agency”.
Sebusa further stated that “I was forced by Lloyd Gonzaga to execute an affidavit of witness stating that Romarigo Benegi-an is a security officer of Dagohoy Security Agency, even if in truth and in fact, he is not connected with the said agency”.
Sebusa even implicated Gonzaga and Benegi-an’s lawyer, a certain Atty. DonalvoÂ who allegedly “threatened me that he will find ways to close the Dagohoy Security Agency if I will not execute the said affidavit”.
Moreover, Sebusa said “that because of too much fear I was forced to execute the said affidavit of witness even if I had to tell a lie for security reason”.
The recantation affidavit of Sebusa was cited as one of the grounds for reconsideration filed by the Bohol Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (BCIDG) before the Provincial Prosecution Office of Bohol seeking the reversal of a joint resolution dismissing a complaint for illegal possession of firearms.
Gonzaga andÂ Benegi-anÂ were arrested on October 13, 2016 at about 6:30 AM by combined elements of the CIDG7, BCIDG, Bohol Provincial Police Office-Provincial Public Police Company/Special Weapons And Tactics (PPSC/SWAT) and the Panglao Police Station based on reports of high caliber firearms allegedly stashed at the Alona Embrace Hotel.Â
A search warrant to conduct an “immediate search” on the residence building of Gonzaga situated inside the premises of the hotel was given on October 11,Â 2016Â by Vice-Executive Judge Jennifer Chavez-Marcos of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 2, City of Tagbilaran.
But Prosecutor Maglajos found that the raiding team got it wrong after they found and seized several firearms, ammunition and illegal drugs in a hut “near or close” to the residence of Gonzaga that was not indicated in the sketch in support of the application for a search warrant.
The joint resolution approved by Deputy Provincial Prosecutor EricÂ UcatÂ pointed out that the hut where the firearms, ammunition and alleged shabu were discovered by the police “is a separate and distinct or an independent structure from Gonzaga’s residential house”.
The BCIDG disagreed with the conclusion of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Mildred Maglajos who penned the joint resolutionÂ that theÂ raiding team exceeded the authority of a search warrant, one of the respondents is a security guard and the firearm seized from his possession is owned by the security agency where he is employed.
The BCIDG also sought the inhibition of Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Mildred Maglajos on the grounds that “prudence dictates thatÂ once a person has rendered a conclusion to a certain issue, it would be very hard for him/her to reverse the same”.
The BCIDG asserted that theÂ raiding team did not exceed the authority of the search warrant because the hut where the firearms, ammunition, and shabu were found is adjacent and still within the premises of Gonzaga’s residence.
According to the joint affidavit of arrest executed by the raiding team, the search wasÂ conducted Â inÂ the presence of two barangayÂ kagawadsÂ – Pablo Chiong and Alex Bongawan.
The brothers – Lloyd and King Paul Gonzaga led the raiding team during the search until they noticed the hut adjacent to the main house which Lloyd pointed out as their dirty kitchen and dining area.
It was in the hut where a small locked room was forcibly opened by the police since Gonzaga refused and was agitated and started making calls when pressed to unlock the room, according to the affidavit of arrest.
Inside the room, firearms and ammunition were found inside a plastic laundry basket while the illegal drugs and paraphernalia were discovered in a holeÂ atÂ the room ceiling.
The firearms were twoÂ caliberÂ .45 pistols, one caliber .357 pistol and several pieces of live ammo.
FAKE SECURITY GUARD
In the case ofÂ Benigi-an, the caliber .38 revolver found in his possession is licensed under Dagohoy Security Agency where he is a security officer, as attested by Juan Sebusa, Operations Manager, according to Prosecutor Maglajos.
Sebusa, in a sworn affidavit executed on November 17,Â 2016Â stated that “I declare for the record thatÂ RomaricoÂ T.Â Benigi-an is a security officer of Dagohoy Security Agency detailed at Alona Embrace Hotel since July 1, 2016”.
A duty detail order no. 10-2016 dated October 1,Â 2016Â was issued by Sebusa designatingÂ Benigi-an as Chief Security Officer at Alona Embrace Hotel from October 1,Â 2016Â to October 31,Â 2016Â with a 24-hour time shift.
As a security guard,Â Benigia-an was authorized to carry a shotgun and revolver caliber .38 while in actual guard duty, according to the order which was part of the respondent’s documents.
The police contended in their MR thatÂ Benigi-anÂ is not connected with Dagohoy Security Agency as earlier claimed by the Operations Manager which was cited by Prosecutor Maglajos.
But the Dagohoy Security Agency issued a certification thatÂ Benigi-an “is not connected with the said security agency”, according to the BCIDG in their MR.
The BCIDG added that the name ofÂ Benigi-an did not appear in the records of the Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig as an employee of Dagohoy Security Agency.
Benigian, in hisÂ counter-affidavitÂ did not mention that he was a security guard of Dagohoy Security Agency but during theÂ raidÂ he was “merely standing there observing what they were doing and what they might do during the search”.
Gonzaga andÂ Benigi-an in their counter-affidavit submitted to the Prosecutor’s Office denied ownership of the seized firearms, ammunitions and shabu and insisted that the seized items are “fruits of the poisonous tree” as they were “taken at a place not described in the search warrant”.
Gonzaga and Benegi-an are out on bail.
The joint resolution to dismiss the complaint was done on November 24,Â 2016Â and was received by the BCIDG on February 24, 2017.
The MR was signed by Police Senior Inspector (P/SInsp.) Edwin Mateo Lacostales, BCIDG Provincial Officer, andÂ copyÂ furnished Atty. Percy Jun P.Â DonalvoÂ of theÂ BatacanÂ Montejo & Vicencio Law Firm in Davao City, counsel for the respondents.Â
Alona Embrace Hotel is at the center of a bitter ownership dispute betweenÂ ConradaÂ Gubalani Otero Blomqvist and her son-in-law Gonzaga which is believed to have led to the brutal killing of Atty. Mia on February 15, 2017.
Blomqvist sought legal assistance from Atty. Mia who successfully transferred the tax declaration of Alona Embrace under her name a few days before four killers, two of them identified as Gonzaga and Benegi-an who allegedly waylaid the lawyer and fired 27 bullets, with eight finding their mark at the head and neck of Atty. Mia.
The gruesome murder was perpetrated in plain view of the lawyer’s three kids and their nanny and several eyewitnesses in broad daylight at the corner of JA. Clarin and Zamora Sts.Â (Chito M. Visarra)