Ballistics exam matches – cops: Labitad’s gun killed Reluya?
CEBU, Philippines — The bullets found at the scene where San Fernando councilor Ricardo Reluya, Jr. was killed in Talisay City on January 22 matched the M16 that suspects Jerome Labitad and Felix Abacajan, Jr. left behind during an encounter with police last January 29.
The Police Regional Office – 7 said this result of a ballistic examination would prove that Labitad and Abacajan were among the five men who peppered with bullets the Toyota Grandia Reluya was riding together with his wife, San Fernando Mayor Lakambini Reluya; Giovanni Perez; Jefer Tolentin; Allan Bayot; and Ricky Monterona.
The mayor, Perez, and Tolentin survived the ambush and now stand as first-hand witnesses. They identified the suspects positively on February 6.
“It was positive. Nag-match ang ballistic examination,” said PRO-7 Director Debold Sinas.
Provincial Police Director, Senior Supt. Manuel Abrugena, said they will file multiple murder and frustrated murder charges against Abacajan and Labitad this week.
“Definitely, hindi tayo titigil. As long as hindi natin nakukuha ang prime suspects, we are not going to stop (We will not stop until the prime suspects are arrested),” Abrugena said.
He believes that Abacajan and Labitad will be able to lead them to the mastermind of the ambush.
“Wala pa tayong mastermind. It remains na blanko tayo, that’s why kailangan sila madakip na buhay para malaman natin kung sino man ang nagpapatay, at kung may middleman ba, para din malaman natin kung ano ang motibo (We don’t have the mastermind yet, that’s why we need to arrest them alive so we will know who ordered the kill or if there was a middleman, and so we will know what the motive was),” Abrugena said earlier.
He also said San Fernando mayoralty bet Ruben Feliciano and his campaign manager, Neil Enriquez, are not yet off the hook.
Citing politics as motive, Lakambini has said Feliciano and Enriquez may have something to do with the ambush, something that Feliciano has denied vehemently.
The police are eyeing politics, business-related matters, and illegal drugs as possible motives in the killing.
Abrugena said they have not traced Abacajan and Labitad just yet. Reports had it that they were injured heavily during the encounter with operatives from the Provincial Intelligence Branch.
Labitad is reportedly the most wanted in Talisay City while his uncle is considered notorious in the gun-for-hire business.
Labitad allegedly circulated in groups of high-profile drug lords like Steve Go and Franz Sabalones. He also allegedly formed his own group in the past and took part in illegal-drugs and gun-for-hire activities.
Abacajan, a barangay councilman of Maghaway, Talisay City, is also a member of the Sabalones drug group. Jerome is also his nephew. (FREEMAN)