By Jeffrey Damicog
Mayor Melandres de Sagun of Trece Martires City, Cavite and his co-respondents have been allowed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) more time to respond to accusations that they allegedly conspired to kill Trece Martires Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex Gingoyon, who chairs the panel of prosecutors conducting the preliminary investigation on the complaints, gave De Sagun and his co-respondents until October 26 to file their respective counter-affidavits.
De Sagun and his co-respondents were supposed to file their respective counter-affidavits at the start of the preliminary investigation Friday.
Gingoyon warned that should the respondents fail to file their counter-affidavits on October 26, the murder complaint against them will be considered submitted for resolution.
“’Pag ’di nagsubmit ng counter-affidavit nila (If they don’t submit their counter-affidavits), submitted for resolution,” the prosecutor told reporters.
In a motion for extension to file counter-affidavit, De Sagun’s legal counsel, lawyer Merito Lovensky Fernandez, explained to the panel that his services were only engaged by the mayor last October 9.
“In view thereof and due to the gravity of the charges leveled against respondent, the undersigned counsel would need an additional period of 14 days from October 12, 2018 or until October 26, 2018 within which to file respondent’s counter-affidavit and the affidavits of his witnesses,” said the lawyer.
The other respondents are identified as Maragondon Municipal Councilor Lawrence “Umbe” Arca, Luis Vasquez Abad Jr., Ariel Fletchetro Paiton, and Rhonel Bersamina.
The Cavite Police Provincial Office (PPO) filed before the DOJ last September 13 the complaints against De Sagun and four other respondents.
Under the complaint, the respondents are accused of two counts of murder and frustrated murder over the ambush of Lubigan which took place in Trece Martires, Cavite last July 7.
Lubigan was aboard his black Toyota Hi-Lux when he was ambushed in front of the Korean-Philippines Friendship Hospital.
Aside from Lubigan, his driver Romulo Guillemer died in the attack and his security aide, Romeo Edrinal, wounded.