Negros Occidental Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr. yesterday said the National Bureau of Investigation should name the member of his family it says may be linked to the killing of Judge Henry Arles so that the person can defend himself.
The vice governor said he believes the implication of his family in the Arles killing is politically motivated. His family has no reason at all to want to see the judge dead, he stressed.
Arles was shot by gunmen on a tricycle in Brgy. Manalad, Ilog, as he was driving home in the evening of April 24.
The vice governor’s daughter, Rep. Mercedes Avarez (Neg. Occ., 6th District) yesterday said: “I am saddened and surprised by the news linking my family to Judge Arles' death.”
“It is a fact that we have no pending case in his sala, nor had any negative encounters with him. I practiced in his court before and I have high regard for his fairness and integrity,” she said.
It is a desperate move to tarnish her family's name, she said, pointing out that anyone in the CHICKS (Cauayan, Hinobaan, Ilog, Candoni, Hinobaan, Candoni) area can say that no one in the Alvarez family have acted violently or abusively to any person.
“We are the ones being maligned most of the time. This is a sensitive case involving the death of a person, I hope and pray that everyone will be careful with their statements,” the congresswoman said.
The NBI is seriously looking into the possibility that a member of the family of the vice governor may be linked to killing of Arles , NBI Bacolod chief Ferdinand Lavin said Tuesday.
The Alvarez name is one of three to four powerful and influential families that have surfaced in their investigation into the Arles killing, Lavin further explained yesterday.
“We are investigating all theories that have surfaced, he said, adding that they cannot give specific names as they are still putting the pieces of the puzzle together,” he said.
As soon as they have checked on the claims of their witnesses, Lavin said they will subpoena the persons named so they can give their sides.
Lavin stressed that the vice governor has not been implicated in the Arles killing, but the name of a member of his family has surfaced.
Vice Gov. Alvarez reiterated that he did not know Arles personally but his daughter, Rep. Alvarez, who is a lawyer, has described Arles as a good judge and man.
In fact when he was congressman, he allocated P1 million from his congressional funds to have the court house where Arles worked in Kabankalan City repaired, he added.
The vice governor said he does see any reason for the name of his family to be dragged into the Arles killing, and earlier, into the slay of Ilog Councilor Antonio “Karem” Gequillana, except for it to be politically motivated.
The vice governor said when Rep. Alvarez called Lavin to ask about news reports that their family was being named in the Arles case, the NBI chief denied it saying he only referred to influential families, and that the media were putting words into his mouth.
Reporters from the print and broadcast media recorded their interview with Lavin on Tuesday where he confirmed that a member of the Alvarez family had been linked to the killing and they were seriously looking into it.*CPG