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Sunday, May 10, 2009


Mayor Edwin Crisologo of Tineg, Abra has described the filing of multiple murder and frustrated murder charges against him for an ambush that killed a barangay captain and five of his companions in Lagayan, Abra on May 4, 2007.


Speaking through counsel Atty. Estelita Cordero, Crisologo stressed that the ambush happened in Lagayan, another town of Abra where he has no political interest.


This being the case, the mayor said he had absolutely nothing to do with the ambush and killing of barangay captain Romero Guyang, barangay treasurer Felima Califlores, Eduardo Guyang, Jerry Ruben, Gerson Battalo and Darwin Sibnangen.


Wounded in the incident were Hermino Ayab and Lorenzo Guyang.


Guyang was said to be at loggerheads with Lagayan officials and was even mulling to run for vice mayor when he was ambushed and killed.


Crisologo's counsel also expressed dismay over the sudden withdrawal of the security detail of her client on the eve of the preliminary investigation before the Department of Justice (DoJ) in Manila, purportedly on orders of a top police official in Camp Crame.


She added the statements of the witnesses against Crisologo appeared to be "fabricated and coached and thus smacks of perjury" and should be dismissed outright.


Cordero said that the original respondents in the case-- Joel Sulian, Codlen Bilong, Dominador Balucas and Celino Begnalen--- were cleared by a joint resolution by assistant provincial prosecutor Raphiel Alzate and acting provincial prosecutor Nestor S. Tolentino on November 7, 2007.


The resolution cited the improbability of the testimonies made by witnesses, who had the facility of identifying the ambushers in spite of the grave threat to their lives.


It also gave credence to the certification issued by an Army detachment commander who said the accused were members of a paramilitary unit and that Sulian was on duty when the ambush took place.


The resolution said it was hard to believe that the ambushers would show their faces to the victims.


Cordero said a powerful political personality in Abra has shown keen interest in the case and even appeared before the DoJ.


She explained that the case against Crisologo is clearly meant to harass him, noting that the confessions of the two supposed conspirators in the crime, Eugenio Califlores and Arnel Aguilar, were made on September 30, 2008 and bear striking similarities.


The only piece of evidence used to charge the Tineg mayor was the extra-judicial confession of Califlores, who was arrested for alleged involvement in other crimes on September 27, 2008.


Aguilar claimed that it was Crisologo who ordered the killing of Romero Guyang, provided the three camouflage uniforms and firearms for the ambush and gave the money for the operation. Califlores insisted he had no direct knowledge about how Crisologo gave the money, firearms and uniforms and was merely informed by Aguilar about the alleged ambush.


Cordero said the testimonies of Califlores and Aguilar contradict the statements of the survivors, who said the seven ambushers wore camouflage uniforms. It is strange how three camouflage uniforms "provided" by Crisologo could fit the seven men.


"The statements of Aguilar and Califlores do not prove at all an unbroken chain that would lead to a fair and reasonable conclusion that I was the mastermind of the incident," Crisologo said in his counter-affidavit.



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