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Three cops cleared in killing of QC prosecutor

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By Jeffrey Damicog

Three policemen have been cleared from accusations of being involved in the 2018 killing of Quezon City Deputy Prosecutor Rogelio Velasco.

In a 36-page resolution, Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong dismissed the murder complaint against SPO2 Rodante Sicat Lalimarmo, PO3 Arthur Yasonia Lucy, and PO1 Jose Lunar Mercado “due to insufficiency of evidence.”

“After careful review and evaluation of the evidence submitted by the parties, the undersigned finds complaints’ evidence insufficient to charge all respondents for murder,” read Ong’s resolution.

Velasco died when he got ambushed on May 11, 2018, in front of the Ababu Persian Kitchen of the Pwesto Community Mall located along Antonio St. In Barangay Holy Spirit, Quezon City.

He was driving his red Toyota Innova when he got blocked by a white Toyota Innova with plate number XNR 256 where four masked armed men alighted from the vehicle and fired at the victim.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) presented among its pieces of evidence the closed circuit television (CCTV) footage that day at the QC Elliptical Circle which was allegedly used by the suspects as a staging area.

NBI also presented the CCTV footage from the Quezon City Hall compound where the suspects were also allegedly spotted waiting for Velasco.

However, Ong pointed out, among others, that looking at the CCTV footage at the crime scene “the plate number of the white Innova cannot be seen.”

The prosecutor also expressed doubt that witness Wilfred Mark Austria also saw the plate number of the white Innova at the crime scene.

Ong noted that Austria said he was able to write on his hand the plate number of the white Innova while holding on to his hat.

Unfortunately, Ong saw on the CCTV of the crime scene that Austria was holding on to his visor “but it is clear he was not writing anything on his hand.”

“Complainants should not rely on speculations and conjectures to support their case. Mere speculations and probabilities cannot substitute for proof required to establish the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt,” the resolution stated.

“Neither should complainants rely on suspicion, for suspicion alone is not sufficient. Suspicion, no matter how strong, should not sway judgment, it is an accepted axiom that the prosecution cannot rely on the weakness of the defense to gain conviction, but must establish beyond reasonable doubt every circumstance essential to the guilt of the accused,” it added.

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