Zamboanga del Norte town mayor, 3 others face murder raps

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MANILA — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed criminal cases against the mayor of Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte and three others before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for allegedly killing and burning the house of a man, with whom the local chief executive has a pending land dispute.

In a complaint, NBI has recommended the prosecution of Mayor Flora Villarosa of Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte; Barangay Poblacion chairman Josecor Gepolongca; Ernie Lumucso, Villarosa’s chief security aide; and Roy Maronse Balayong for murder and arson.

The four are accused of killing Restituto Lugo Sasuman of Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte on Sept. 15, 2016. The victim reportedly refused to vacate the property that was reportedly donated to the local government.

The NBI-Death Investigation Division (DID) said the charges stemmed from the complaint of Sasuman’s wife Teodolfa; the victim’s sister, Adricula; and nephew Elbert.

Sasuman’s killing was solved by the NBI after Lumocso and Balayong confessed to investigators that they burned the victim’s house.

Investigation showed,  on the night of September 15, 2016,   Lumucso  went to the birthing clinic beside the house of the victim to conduct a final surveillance.

Lumucso, along with Balayong, forcibly took Sasuman as he was coming out of the clinic’s comfort room and took him to Villarosa’s house.

Lumucso said they tied Sasuman’s hands with electrical wire and wrapped his head with a piece of cloth. They took Sasuman to the spillway in Polayo, Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte where they stabbed him to death.

Lumucso and Balayong then returned to Sasuman’s house and burned it down after which, they proceeded to Villarosa’s house.

Gepolonga, who was also at the mayor’s house, gave the two men an envelop containing PHP10,000.

However, Lumucso and Balayong later confessed to the crime.

The NBI-DID said prior to the killing, Sasuman and a certain Carlo Plasos filed a case of forcible entry with temporary restraining order and writ of preliminary injunction against Villarosa and Proceso Benlot and Myrna Benlot on Feb. 13, 2012 over a piece of land.

In his complaint, Sasuman alleged that on Feb. 2, 2012, Villarosa and the Benlots unlawfully entered the property and destroyed their house using heavy equipment owned by the municipal government.

Sasuman claimed that they have been occupying the property for almost 40 years but the defendants argued that the land in question was owned by the Benlots. -PNA

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