DOJ ready to place Tarlac shooting witnesses under WPP

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 23, 2020   •   519

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) said it is ready to place witnesses of the Tarlac shooting under its Witness Protection Program (WPP).

On Wednesday (December 23), DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra said those who witnessed the shooting of Sonia Gregorio, 53, and her son Frank Anthony, 25, can seek protection as investigation into the incident is ongoing.

“The witnesses who need protection may apply at DOJ for provisional cover under the WPP, and the DOJ will immediately evaluate their application,” he said.

Police Senior Master Sergeant Jonel Nuezca was the policeman who shot the two victims in Paniqui, Tarlac on Sunday (December 20) while in the middle of a heated argument over an improvised canon. The incident was caught on video and went viral on social media.

Nuezca is currently facing two counts of murder at the Regional Trial Court ng Branch 67 ng Paniqui, Tarlac. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

DOJ issues hold departure order vs nine cops in Jolo shooting

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued a hold departure order against the nine policemen involved in the shooting of four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu.

In a statement, DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra has ordered prosecutors to file a motion in the court for a hold departure order against the policemen accused of killing the four army personnel in Jolo, Sulu last June 2020.

The order was issued after the Philippine National Police (PNP) released the said cops after being dismissed from service.

“The DOJ prosecutors filed the criminal information against the 9 police officers last January 4. The court was supposed to issue the warrants of arrest thereafter, but apparently failed to do so because of the current lockdown in Sulu,” he said.

Guevarra, meanwhile, hopes the accused would voluntarily turn themselves in once the warrants are issued.

“We hope that the 9 accused will voluntarily turn themselves in when such warrants are eventually released by the court. Otherwise, law enforcement agents will look for them and take them into custody,” Guevarra said. -AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

Victims’ kin express anger over Nuezca’s ‘not guilty’ plea

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines —  The police officer involved in the twin shooting incident in Paniqui, Tarlac has pleaded “not guilty” of committing the crime.

Police SMSgt. Jonel Nuezca was arraigned at the Paniqui, Tarlac Regional Trial Court Branch 106 on Thursday (January 7). Nuezca was not able to personally attend the court since he is still under quarantine, but pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the killing of 52-year-old Sonya Gregorio and her 25-year-old son, Frank Anthony Gregorio.

The victim’s kin expressed disbelief and anger over the said plea.

“Siyempre nabigla ako kasi talagang kalaban siya. Humihingi nga siya ng ano pagkatapos nag-not guilty siya […] Maraming galit, para bang walang ginawa, the victims’ husband and father, Florentino Gregorio said.

Nuezca, shot the victims amid a heated argument that started over an improvised canon.

In the now viral video, the shooting incident happened after the young daughter of the policeman who shouted “my father is a policeman” was mocked by Sonya. This appeared to have triggered the cop to pull his gun and shoot the two victims at point-blank range.

The next scheduled hearing for Nuezca’s double murder is on February 4.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service (PNP-IAS) already recommended the dismissal of Nuezca. According to IAS Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo, they have submitted the recommendation to National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Major General Vicente Danao.

Nuezca is currently detained in the crime laboratory Parañaque City. AAC (with reports from Bryan Lacanlale)

DOJ may issue travel alert order vs suspects in Dacera rape-slay

Robie de Guzman   •   January 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it may issue a travel alert order against the suspects in the rape-slay case of 23-year-old flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the travel alert will be issued as soon as appropriate charges have been filed with the prosecutor’s office.

“For now we’ll let the PNP (Philippine National Police) handle the case. As soon as the police file a complaint with the prosecutor’s office, we may issue a travel alert order to the BI,” Guevarra said in a message to reporters.

Three persons tagged in the killing have been placed under police custody while other suspects remain at large.

Police said the three have been charged with rape and homicide.

A manhunt operation will also be launched against nine other people who were present in the party before Dacera was found dead.

Police initial investigation showed that Dacera was invited to a party with some friends at the City Garden Hotel in Makati City on December 31.

It was also learned that other than Dacera and her friends, other people were also present in the party.

She was found lifeless in a bathtub in the hotel around noontime on January 1.

Police said that while Dacera suffered from aneurysm, investigators found laceration and bruises on her body, and other markings that indicate sexual contact.

The final autopsy report is expected to be released soon. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Dante Amento)

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