Sunday, January 23, 2011

Prime suspect in carjack-slay cases seeks ‘police custody’

MANILA, Philippines - Raymond Dominguez, one of the prime suspects in three high-profile carjack-slay cases, voluntarily turned himself over to the Bulacan Provincial Police late Saturday.
However, the car trader continued to deny any hand in the brutal killing of used-car dealers Venson Evangelista and Emerson Lozano, and of the latter's companion, Ernani Sensil. “Wala po akong kinalaman sa isyu na iyan,” Dominguez told TV Patrol Sabado.
Dominguez said he would go to the authorities to voluntarily explain himself instead of waiting for the police to issue a warrant against him. "Kasi sa ngayon yung side lang ng mga sinasabi nilang suspects and napapakinggan, kaya nag-decide na akong pumunta dun," he explained.
His lawyer, Raymund Palad, explained in a later DZMM radio interview that Dominguez approached the police not to surrender but to seek "protective custody."
Palad said his client fears for his life. “Kusang pagre-report ito dahil maaring maglagay ng panganib sa kanilang buhay,” he said.
“Walang pag-amin. Paanong aamin sa akusasyon gayong hindi pa nababasa ang demanda?” the lawyer said, referring to the testimony of the two other suspects in the case who linked Dominguez to the killing.
Central Luzon police earlier arrested two of Dominguez’s alleged cohorts, Alfred Mendiola (alias Allan Torres) and a certain Batibot Parulan, for the murder of Evangelista.
Mendiola and Parulan reportedly confessed that they were part of the team that captured Evangelista and pointed to the Dominguez brothers -- Raymond and Roger -- as themasterminds behind the killing.
Raymond said he has talked to his brother Roger and they agreed that Raymond will proceed first with their plans to cooperate with the investigations. "Magba-biyahe pa siya," Raymond explained of Roger's whereabouts.
Raymond's recent move came after the Special Investigation Task Force of the Philippine National Police raided the "safehouse" of the "Dominguez car theft syndicate" in Pampanga province. The Central Luzon police said they found several evidence that could pin the Dominguez brothers, among which was the half-burnt driver's license of Evangelista
Central Luzon police director Alan Purisima told reporters that the incriminating evidence they gathered during the raid in Pampanga and the confessions of Mendiola and Parulan are enough to pin the Dominguezes to the crimes.
The police have ordered the filing of murder charges against the two Dominguezes. 
Mendiola and Parulan were subjected to inquest proceedings on Saturday night at the Quezon City prosecutors’ office.
Dominguez brothers
The Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group earlier identified the Dominguez carjacking syndicate as one of 3 major carjacking rings operating in Central Luzon.
In a previous exclusive interview with TV Patrol, Raymond had admitted he is currently facing 19 counts of car theft and roberry before the regional trial court in Malolos, Bulacan.
He was freed last month after posting bail.
In the TV Patrol interview, Raymond also denied that he knows Mendiola or Parulan. He said he and his brother will cooperate with the police.
Raymond has lamented that his name is being dragged into all sorts of crimes in Central Luzon. He interpreted this as rushed investigations by the police.
On Jan. 22, Central Luzon police director Purisima denied that Mendiola and Parulan are fall guys. The police officer stressed that they were able to trace the two suspects through intensive intelligence work, which forced them to surrender.
Suspect Mendiola reportedly provided the information on the alleged safehouses of the Dominguezes to the police, who in turn raided an apartment and a nearby house in San Jose in Pampanga province. The Dominguez brothers are allegedly renting these.
The police recovered Evangelista's half-burnt license, 2 vehicles of which one is believed to have been used as a backup vehicle in the car dealer's kidnapping, 3 pistols, including the gun possibly used in the killing of Evangelista, 22 license plates, several car keys, metal plates and a wig.
Brutal killings
Evangelista, 30, went missing in Quezon City on January 13.
His charred body was found a day later by a farmer in a remote village in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
Police said Evangelista had a deep wound in the nape and his face was covered with packaging tape. His body was burnt using a rubber tire then dumped near an irrigation canal.
One of the suspects, Mendiola, supposedly dressed up as a transvestite named "Allan Torres," was reported to have introduced himself to Evangelista as a prospective buyer of a vehicle that Evangelista's father, Arsenio, was selling.
Evangelista was last seen alive on January 13. "Torres" and a mechanic left Evangelista's car shop on that day to test drive the vehicle.
Evangelista's death came on the heels of another brutal killing that also involve a second-hand car dealer.
The deaths of Emerson Lozano, a son of former Marcos lawyer Oliver Lozano, and his workmate Ernani Sensil, were as brutal as Evangelista's.
Lozano's charred body was found on Jan 14 in Pampanga. The day before, Sensil's charred body was found in Tarlac.
While Evangelista was selling a Toyota Land Cruiser, Lozano was meeting a prospective buyer of a Kia Carnival van in Quezon City.
Police said Mendiola and Parulan also confessed that their group, supposedly acting on the Dominguez brothers' orders, also had a hand in the gruesome killing of Lozano and Sensil.
The spate of killings has revived debates on the re-imposition of the death penalty.

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