>> Tuesday, January 29, 2008
PARACELIS, Mountain Province -- Three of the six suspects in the brutal killing of Mayor Cesar Rafael here Christmas Day last year were arrested Task Force Paracelis composed of Cordillera cops.
Supt. Joseph Adnol, provincial police chief bared suspects Bong Felix and Rene Yadao surrendered to the police on Jan. 21 in a prearranged meeting at the house of a Barangay Kagawad at Sitio Damsite Barangay Anonat here.
“Earlier, the task force learned that Felix and Yadao wanted to meet with Patrick Rafael, brother of the slain mayor, to clear their names and disclose the extent of their participation in the killing,” he said.
Some barangay kagawads of Anonat reportedly facilitated the meeting. Upon hearing this, the task force immediately located the slain mayor’s brother and escorted him to the meeting place.
The duo reportedly revealed there were six of them who actually participated in the gruesome ambush-slay. They served as lookouts while the other four were the gunmen. A barangay chairman allegedly recruited and paid them to kill the mayor.
The barangay chairman’s identity was withheld pending filing of charges against him. Adnol said on Jan. 22, the third suspect, named as Tirso Abalos was apprehended at Sitio Damsite in Anonat by virtue of a standing warrant of arrest. He was intercepted while on his way to Roxas, Isabela.
Identities of three other suspects and the alleged mastermind were withheld by police pending the filing of cases against them. But other sources identified the suspects to the media naming them as Danny Agabao, Tony Conti and a still unidentified accomplice.
A case for murder is now being prepared for filing in court against Felix, Yadao and Abalos. Mayor Rafael, 61, married, a resident of Poblacion, Paracelis was shot to death while driving his pick-up truck along an upgraded portion of the road in Sitio Sinigpit, Butigue, Paracelis at 2 p.m. on Dec. 25, 2007.
According to initial investigations, he just came from his farm at Capalaleyan, Palitud, Paracelis when the incident happened. His Cal. 45 pistol and cellular phone were allegedly taken away by his assailants.
Scene of the crime police operatives recovered of 72 shells from an M-16 rifle. The victim’s vehicle had 80 gunshot holes. Bone, brain and blood were splattered at the front passenger’s seat and dashboard as a result of the great volume of gunfire.
“With the arrest of the three suspects and with the continuous support of witnesses and community leaders, and with the unremitting investigations being conducted by the police, the family of the victim and the Cordillera police are hoping for the arrest of the other suspects and solution of the case,” Adnol said.