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Trece Martires, Cavite mayor denies killing vice mayor

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By Jeffrey Damicog

Mayor Melandres de Sagun of Trece Martires City, Cavite has denied being behind the killing of Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan.

(MANILA BULLETIN)

(MANILA BULLETIN)

“At the outset, I deny in the strongest terms the complaint for murder and frustrated murder filed by the complainants before this Honorable Court,” read the counter-affidavit submitted by his lawyer on Friday before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

With this, De Sagun asked the panel to dismiss the complaint filed against him “for utter lack of merit.”

A DOJ panel of prosecutors led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Rassendell Rex Gingoyon is currently conducting a preliminary investigation over the complaint against De Sagun and his four other co-respondents.

In the complaint, the respondents are accused of two counts of murder and one count of frustrated murder over the death of Lubigan and his driver Romulo Guillemer as well as the wounding of his security aide Romeo Edrinal.

The other respondents are identified as Maragondon Municipal Councilor Lawrence “Umbe” Arca, Luis Abad Jr., Ariel Paiton, and Rhonel Bersamina.

In his counter-affidavit, De Sagun refuted the testimony of witness Alex Paiton, the brother of Ariel Paiton.

“The only evidence presented against me is the statement of one Alex Paiton wherein accordingly, his brother Ariel Paiton told him I ordered the latter to do the deed,” De Sagun said.

“I vehemently deny the same and this hearsay evidence is very unreliable and untrustworthy and thus devoid of probative value,” he stressed.

Apart from this, De Sagun pointed out he had no motive to have Lubigan killed.

“It is the last term of office and I will not run anymore for any position. The death of Vice Mayor will not benefit me or my family, personally or politically. There is simply no motive on our part even a political motive for it is political suicide to commit such a horrible crime for it may affect and destroy the reputation of our family,” he explained.

De Sagun said that if anyone should benefit from the death of the vice mayor it would be Lubigan’s wife, Gemma Lubigan, who is running as mayor of Trece Martires.

“And how convenient it is that when the fateful event happened, the better half of the Vice Mayor was opportunely left at the gym because allegedly she was not done yet with her routine. Was she forewarned that something will happen? And now she is running from office and using this unfortunate incident as a propaganda to further her bid,” he said.

Lubigan was aboard his black Toyota Hi-Lux when ambushed on the afternoon of July 7 in front of the Korean-Philippines Friendship Hospital in Trece Martires, Cavite.

Reports said among those Gemma Lubigan will be facing during the elections is De Sagun’s father, former mayor Melancio “Jun” De Sagun Jr.

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