By Lottie Salarda
“We were not surprised anymore,” Catanduanes journalist Marlon Suplig said after learning that the Department of Justice in Manila dismissed the murder complaint against Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua and others over the murder of Catanduanes Now Publisher Larry Que in 2016.
What surprised them was the failure of the DOJ to notify them almost a year after its resolution, Suplig said.
Contrary to the Rules on Criminal Procedure requiring only probable cause for a case to be filed, Assistant State Prosecutor Alejandro Daguiso in a resolution dated October 30, 2017, said there is insufficiency of evidence presented by the complainants and it will be unfair to hold the respondents for trial.
Que was killed after writing a column alleging the negligence of the local officials over the discovery of a major shabu laboratory in the province.
He was the first vitim of media killing under the Rodrigo Duterte government.
The victim was shot by a motorcycle men-riding in tandem at around 9:30 in the morning near his workplace in Virac, Catanduanes.
On May 2, 2017, Edralyn Pangilinan, Que’s common-law wife filed a murder case against Cua, police officer Vincent Tacorda, Cua’s right-hand Prince Lim Subion and other “John Does”.
After his arrest last year, Tacorda admitted he was instructed to kill Que under the guise of “Operation Tokhang” by Cua through his right-hand man Subion.
Que received death threats from Lim Subion prior to the incident.
According to Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Egco, Tacorda faced a robbery and extortion charges because he allegedly asked the family for 10 million pesos in exchange for evidence of Que’s death.
The extortion case filed against Tacorda was likewise dismissed. He denied all his extrajudicial confessions in his affidavit.
The complainants said they did not receive a copy of the resolution.
Suplig said they did not know that their complaint was already dismissed almost a year ago as they were not given copies.
It was Cua’s camp who announced the dismissal nearly two months before the filing of certificates of candidacies for the 2019 local and national polls.
The incumbent governor is planning to run for the same post next year. #