Vice mayoral bet linked to Pangasinan mayor's slay

February 27, 2013 12:33 am 

ALAMINOS CITY, Feb. 26 — Four witnesses surfaced Monday and linked a lawyer and vice mayoral candidate in the slaying of Mayor Ruperto Martinez of Infanta in Dec. 15, 2012 inside their compound in Barangay Cato, Infanta.

The four executed separate sworn statements corroborating the murder complaint filed by brothers Richard and Marvin Martinez, sons of the slain mayor, against lawyer Florante Miano of Sitio Payong-Payong, Barangay Batang, Infanta which they filed before the Provincial Prosecutor's Office here.

Miano, responding to calls by reporters from his home in Infanta, said he is unfazed with the filing of the complaint but was surprised why the Martinez brothers did not turn over their evidence — if they really have — to the police or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) which should have been the right agencies to initiate the filing of the case.

He said he welcomes the suit for him to clear his name and went on to point out that it was initiated by the Martinez brothers, particularly Richard, who replaced his father as a candidate and is now his opponent for the position of vice mayor.

The sworn statements of Rizalde Jimenez Bernal of Barangay Hermosa, Dasol; Jerome Melanio of Patima, Infanta; Charlito Maniago Sr. of Cato, Infanta and Celestinbo Ginez of Patima, Infanta put a new twist into the slaying of Martinez that earlier implicated Pangasinan Governor Amado Espino Jr., Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. and First District Congressman Jesus Celeste as masterminds.

This was an indication that the Martinez brothers, including their mother Crisanta, are not convinced with the statement of a supposed lone witness — a 16-year-old boy who has been placed under the Witness Protection Program — who claimed he was present when the slaying of Martinez was planned at the Pescador Resort in Bolinao.

The Martinez brothers attached in their complaint a pamphlet purportedly written by Miano which was circulated during a rally in the morning of Dec. 15, the same day when the mayor was killed by two armed men believed to be hired assassins but who were subsequently arrested the next day.

The pamphlet was entitled "ISANG ARAW LANG, TAPOS NA ANG KASO". The rally was staged to protest the construction of a pier in Barangay Cato, Infanta, a few meters away from the mayor's residence and where, according to the pamphlet, trucks owned by Martinez were hauling minerals and dumping them in front of the pier.

One of the points raised in the pamphlet was: "Kung dalhin nating sa hukuman ang usaping ito, matatagalan. Tapos na ang halalan hindi pa rin nahahatulan. Pag natalo sa kaso, segurado aapela. Kaya idudulog ko na lamang itong usapin ito sa bayan. Pag kayo ang humatol, walang pera. ISANG ARAW LANG, TAPOS ANG KASO."

Maniago, barangay chairman of Cato, Infanta, claimed Miano frequently lambasted the administration of Martinez and Vice Mayor Virgilio Vallarta that stemmed from the operation of a pier in the town by the International Global Mining Exchange Inc.

On the other hand, Bernal, a town councilor, said Miano threatened Martinez when the latter permitted the pier to operate.

Ginez, also tagged Miano as the leader of a group protesting the construction of pier while Melanio, barangay chairman of Patima, attested that Miano is the closest political rival of the slain mayor.

It was learned that Miano lost to Martinez in their first political fight in 2007. (PNA)

JBP/LVM/RMA

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