DOJ steps in to probe Atty. Mia’s murder

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DOJ steps in to probe Atty. Mia’s murder

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Acting on an urgent request from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Bohol Chapter, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre ll directed the creation of a panel of prosecutors from the Office of the City Prosecutor of the City of Tagbilaran to conduct the preliminary investigation on the murder of Atty. Manuelita Mascariñas-Green.

IBP Bohol Chapter Board Resolution No. 1, series of 2017 “believe the suspects will try to intimidate the eventual handling prosecutor and creation of a panel of prosecutors would be a strong deterrence to it.”

Atty. Teodoro Lagang, then president of the IBP-Bohol Chapter wrote Secretary Aguirre on February 22, 2017 expressing “a sense of urgency and deep concern” over the “grisly murder” of Atty. Mia and requesting for the appointment of a panel of prosecutors to conduct the preliminary investigation of the murder complaint.

BLANKET APPROVAL 

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In response to the Department of Justice (DOJ) directive, City Prosecutor Romeo M. Chatto issued an office memorandum on March 15, 2017 constituting a three-man panel composed of Deputy City Prosecutor Bibiana Bautista and Assistant City Prosecutors Adolfo Doroy and Julius Cesar.

Chatto gave blanket authorization to the panel of city prosecutors to resolve the murder complaints and all other related incidents “with finality and without need of approval” from him.

The resolution of investigating prosecutors to hold the respondents for trial or dismiss the complaint needs the approval of the City Prosecutor.

According to the office memo, Chatto recused or removed himself from participation in the preliminary investigation of the murder complaints as the “late Atty. Mascariñas-Green was the lawyer of Albino Nitollama lV who filed a criminal complaint before the Office of the City Prosecutor and an administrative complaint before the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) against his daughter.”

MURDER

A complaint for murder and multiple attempted murder has been lodged before the Office of the City Prosecutor against Lloyd Lancer Sylio Gonzaga, Romarico Templado Benigi-an aka “Rex” and several John Does.

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Docketed as NPS No. Vll-14-INV-17B-056 to 060, the complaints were filed by Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) “Green” represented by Police Senior Inspector (P/SInsp.) Edwin Lacostales, Provincial Officer, Bohol-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (B-CIDG) and Deputy Head of SITG “Green”.

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Gonzaga and Benig-an together with several John Does were allegedly identified by eyewitnesses who splattered the car of Atty. Mia with 27 bullets, five bullets finding their mark at her neck and three hitting her head.

According to the affidavit of the nanny, their lives were miraculously spared when Benigi-an whom she positively identified, pointed his gun at them after firing at point blank range at Atty. Mia, but the gun, for unknown reasons, failed to fire.

The 49-year-old lawyer-public accountant was on board the family car together with her three kids and nanny on their way home to Barangay Tontonan, Loon when they were waylaid by the suspects at the intersection of JA Clarin and Zamora Sts., Barangay Dao on February 15, 2017 at around 4:27PM, according to the spot report of the Tagbilaran City Police Station (TCPS).

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OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

Another complaint was filed against the Chief Security Officer of Dagohoy Security Agency, Juan S. Sebusa alias “Johnny” by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bohol District Office represented by Agent-in-Charge, Atty. Rennan Augustus T. Oliva.

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Oliva told the Chronicle that Sebusa allegedly withheld pieces of evidence relating to the murder of Atty. Mia that violated provisions of Presidential Decree (PD) 1829 penalizing obstruction of apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders.

According to well-placed sources from the Office of the City Prosecutor, the subpoena for the submission of counter-affidavits of the respondents has been served by the Panglao Police Station on Thursday at Alona Embrace, their last known address.

Gonzaga, Benigi-an, the John Does and Sebusa are given until Monday, March 20, 1017 to submit their counter-affidavits and their failure to do so, the prosecution panel will resolve the case on the basis of the evidence submitted by the police and complainants.

A complaint affidavit for murder and multiple attempted murder was filed by Stuart James Green, a British national and the husband of Atty. Mia against Gonzaga, Benigi-an and John Does before the Office of the City Prosecutor on February 24, 2017. (Chito M. Visarra)

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