Criminal charges filed against suspect in murder of Sumilao farmer-leader, police say

June 9, 2009 12:05 pm 

MANILA, June 9 – Criminal charges were filed today against a key suspect in the killing of Renato Peñas, a peasant leader in Sumilao, Bukidnon, a ranking police official said.

Alipio Tumangday, a resident of San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon was formally charged with Murder and Double Frustrated Murder before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Bukidnon.

Tumangday is believed to be one of three gunmen who shot and killed Renato Peñas during an ambush in the wee hours of June 6, 2009 in San Vicente, Sumilao.

According to Police Regional Office 10 (PRO-10) director, Chief Supt. Danilo Empedrad, Tumangday was identified by a surviving witness as among the attackers who opened fire at them with shotguns. The witness recognized Tumangday when the attackers were illuminated by the headlights of the motorcycle. The witness and another wounded victim, Eliezer Peñas, were both backriders in Peñas’ motorcycle when they were attacked.

Dollete told police investigators it was Tumangday who gave the command "Tirohi na," just before shots were fired at their direction.

Tumangday was promptly arrested in Barangay Maluko, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon some eight hours after the attack. Two more suspects remain at-large and are now the subject of follow-up operations.

Refuting claims by an NGO lawyer that Tumangday’s arrest was done in haste, Empedrad maintained there was no undue haste in arresting Tumangday, but the incident was just promptly acted upon by police responders who acted on the information provided by the surviving victim/complainant.

Police have established that Tumangday had a serious grudge against Peñas and the wounded victim Samson Dollete who are both complaining witnesses in a case for qualified theft filed against the suspect by a certain John Calopes, a case that stemmed from Tumangday’s action of cutting down and uprooting fruit trees and other crops in Calopes’ farm where Tumangday is reportedly a squatter.

Investigators also established that Tumangday had an axe to grind against Peñas because the latter had been helping farmer beneficiaries in evicting Tumangday from the 19-hectare property that had been awarded to seven farmer-beneficiaries including Dollete.

Dollete’s affidavit is among pieces of documentary evidence submitted by police investigators before the Provincial Prosecutor.

The Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division of Police Regional Office-10 is closely monitoring the progress of the case filed against the suspect. (PNA) LAP/MM

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