>> Monday, January 24, 2011
By Teddy Molina and Charlie Lagasca
LAOAG CITY – Police identified five suspects in the killing of a municipal circuit trial court judge in his house in Currimao, Ilocos Norte last Tuesday night.
Probers, however, chose not identify the suspects yet pending the investigation.
Judge Fredelito Pingao, of the Municipal Trial Circuit Court Branch 2 that serves Vintar and Sarrat towns, had three hack wounds and several stab wounds in the neck, almost slashing his throat, said Chief Supt. Franklin Bucayu, Ilocos regional police director.
Pingao was also serving in an acting capacity as presiding judge of Branch 1 of the Laoag City Trial Court.
He was found dead in the living room of his house in Ba¬rangay San Simeon, Currimao town on Wednesday when his driver went to fetch him.
Bucayo said investigators were looking at two motives behind the judge’s murder: conflict over a piece of land and personal grudge.
The five suspects, who were allegedly seen with Pingao before he died, would be subjected to fingerprint investigation for matching with pieces of evidence recovered from the crime scene.
Two men who were last seen drinking with Pingao in his home in Barangay San Simeon, Currimao town on Tuesday night were invited for questioning by a special investigating team formed by Senior Supt. Marlo Chan, Ilocos Norte police director.
Pingao’s fellow judges as well as prosecutors and lawyers have also formed their own team to work closely with the police.
The group includes Judge Isidoro Pobre of Regional Trial Court Branch 18 in Batac town and prosecutors Bernardo Agdigos, Valentin Pascua and Myra Shiela Nalupta-Barba, who went to the crime scene to provide legal assistance to the police investigators.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos condemned the killing and urged police authorities to fast-track the investigation and give justice to Pingao’s family.
Ilocos Norte Executive Judge Conrado Ragucos and Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Ilocos Norte president Richard Tumaneng condemned the incident, too.
“It’s a senseless killing,” Ragucos said, as he urged the police “to leave no stone unturned in their investigation and bring the killers to court.”