Ilog officials and residents calling for justice for town Mayor John Paul Alvarez, who has been charged for the murder of Judge Henry Arles before the Department of Justice, gathered at the town’s covered court yesterday for an inter-faith mass.
Alvarez and members of his family were not present at the gathering organized by Ilog town officials, which had Fr. Allan Armonio of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and Pastor Roger Selarta as speakers.
Ilog Vice Mayor Nelson Genito and Association of Barangay Captains president Ron Cabral both said that they, along with the residents of Ilog, do not believe that the mayor committed the crime he is charged for, and that the mass was held to call on God to ensure that the truth will prevail for all.
We asked for the Lord’s guidance and for justice for all, including the family of Arles, Cabral said.
But IIog Councilor Benigno Gequillana yesterday said not all town officials, as claimed by the camp of Genito, and residents of Ilog believe their mayor is innocent of the charges filed against him.
The charges filed by the NBI against Alvarez are not lies, they are the truth based on a very thorough investigation, Gequillana said.
Gequillana asked how can they claim all Ilog town and barangay officials support the cause of yesterday’s mass, when he and Barangay Captain Jasmin Gequillana do not?
Gequillana is the uncle of slain councilor Antonio “Karem” Gequillana, while Jasmin is his mother.
He and Councilor Mark Vargas were among the officials not present at the inter-faith mass.
Meanwhile, Frank Britanico, brother-in-law of Arles, said yesterday’s gathering in Ilog was more of a political rally than a mass.
He said people were ferried to the covered court in Ilog by their leaders.
He also slammed claims made by Ilog officials that the charges against Alvarez are lies.
The case against Alvarez and his co-accused is a tightly wrapped case, (and) we are almost certain of conviction, he said.
They should stop talking nonsense because the more they talk the deeper they dig their graves, he said.
Britanico, also called a big lie the claim of lawyer Victoria Honorata that on Friday he objected to her seeing the three Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao suspects in the killing of Arles -- Jessie Daguia, Alejandro Capunong and Eddie Fortunado -- who are now detained at the NBI jail in Manila.
Britanico said he does not know the woman and has not even seen her at the NBI in Manila.
Meanwhile, lawyer Ana Marie Palermo yesterday confirmed that she will withdraw as lawyer of Daguia, Capunong anf Fortunado and is awaiting a written authority from the three to do so.
Palermo said she quit after meeting with the three at the NBI in Manila.
She said that as she left the NBI at Taft Avenue in Manila and was walking toward the Philippine General Hospital since there were no taxis, someone rushed up to her from behind and held both her ears and she froze for a brief moment, thinking that was the end of her.
When she turned around she saw a boy running away and both her diamond-pearl earrings were gone, but she did not give a chase or shout because she was alone and it was good thing a taxi passed by and she was able to get a ride, Palermo said.*CPG