The president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bohol Chapter on Monday said that it is premature to deem the man arrested for a gun charge on September 30 as among suspects in the killing of lawyer Mia Mascariñas-Green.
According to Atty. Ted Lagang who is also a lawyer for the prosecution team in the murder case of Mascariñas-Green, the arrest of Vladimir Cagata was not related to the female environmental lawyer’s killing in Tagbilaran City on February 15, 2017.
Lagang said that if Cagata was among the alleged gunmen his name would have been included in the list of suspects in the murder case and an arrest warrant would have been issued against him after the said complaint was filed.
There have also been no indications of Cagata’s involvement in Mascariñas-Green’s killing based on information gathered from the prosecution team’s witnesses and pieces of evidence, added Lagang.
Cagata, however, a former security guard of the disputed Embrace Hotel in Panglao reportedly has close ties with the alleged mastermind in Mascariñas-Green’s murder, Lloyd Lancer Gonzaga who is also in police custody following an arrest made in Davao City on June 30.
Mascariñas-Green’s killing is believed to have stemmed from the said property dispute between Gonzaga and his mother-in-law Conrada Otero Blomquist, the slain lawyer’s client.
For his part, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Bohol chief Sr. Insp. Fritz Blanco said that Cagata was spotted through a closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage taken near Mascariñas-Green’s location right before she was ambushed and killed at the corner of Zamora and JA Clarin Streets.
“Naa na mi several records nga present siya [Cagata] sa court kung asa nag-work si Atty. Mia unya nakuhaan siya’g CCTV footages nga before sa incident nakit-an siya,” said Blanco.
According to Blanco, Cagata’s work for Gonzaga was beyond just being a security guard for Embrace Hotel.
Cagata handled Gonzaga’s legal documents when the latter was still in hiding, said Blanco.
“In fact, naa siguro na siyay special power of attorney para makuha ang mga documents ni Lloyd sa courts,” Blanco added.
However, the CIDG chief also still did not pinpoint Cagata as among the alleged gunmen as he noted that a deeper probe will still be conducted on the arrested person’s involvement in the crime.
Meanwhile, Lagang noted that they have not completely dismissed the possibility that Cagata was involved in Mascariñas-Green’s brutal murder, especially with his known ties with Gonzaga.
A team will be investigating Cagata and if proven to have had a hand in the crime, appropriate charges will be filed against him, said Lagang.
He also clarified that other than Gonzaga, other individuals have been tagged as suspects in the crime.
One was identified as Romarico Benigian while the others were still known as “John Does,” he added.