CAMP VICENTE LIM, Laguna: A ranking police officer and three of his men were charged for the murder of a lawyer and another person in Rodriguez, Rizal on Tuesday.

In a press conference, Calabarzon Regional Director Brig. Gen. Edward Carranza said murder charges were filed at the Department of Justice against Lt. Col. Melchor Agusin, who was the Rodriguez Chief of Police at the time lawyer Adilberto Golla Jr. was killed on May 17.

Agusin has been reassigned to Camp Crame’s Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit.

The kill order for Golla, a litigation lawyer who handled property disputes in Rizal, allegedly came from Agusin, based on the extrajudicial confession of one of the alleged gunmen, Sr. Master Sgt. Michael Eralino.

Eralino and co-respondent Staff Sgt. Alberto Umali were arrested by the Regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on July 6.

Carranza said they were arrested in their own homes in Taytay and in Rodriguez, respectively, based on search warrants for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

As of now, only Eralino, from whom investigators recovered the ski masks and jackets allegedly worn by Golla’s attackers, is in custody.

Another respondent, Pat. Benito Julian Jr., is at large.

The motive of Agusin for masterminding Golla’s murder remains unclear. Eralino claimed they were just following orders and were made to believe that Golla was an illegal personality that had be to be “operated.”

Considered a high profile case, the regional headquarters took over the case. Investigators who followed the gunmen’s trail by collecting security camera footages were surprised that they were led to a police housing project where Eralino lived.

Carranza said he immediately ordered the policemen relieved.

On June 4, Conrado Esteban, the “asset” of Rodriguez policemen, was found dead along C6 road in San Mateo, Rizal.

Police found an M16 rifle among Esteban’s belongings. Carranza said a crossmatching of the weapon and the bullets showed the rifle was the same one used in Golla’s murder.

“Esteban was their own striker. They even tried to mislead the investigation by making it look like Esteban killed Golla” Carranza added.

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“We, in Police Regional Office Calabarzon always remind our men to give the highest respect to human rights and to strictly adhere to the rules set forth by our Police Operational Procedures in all police operations,” Carranza said.


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