By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
The vice mayor (VM) and Sangguniang Bayan (SB) member of Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental voluntarily surrendered yesterday to Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer after spending several months in hiding.
VM Ian Villaflor and SB member Jimmie Don Plaza are facing murder charges which stemmed over the killing of the town’s SB member Jolomar Hilario in 2019.
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Bacolod head Renoir Baldovino said the two will be detained at their office while they file a Petition to Bail before the court through their legal counsel.
Ferrer, on the other hand, said that Villaflor and Plaza called him and informed of their plan to surrender to him.
“For me they made the right decision so that they won’t be considered as fugitives anymore and that it would be up to the court to decide the charges against them based on evidence and witnesses,” Ferrer said.
He said that Baldovino and the two officials’ lawyer, Atty. Elinore Garaygay, was present during the surrender of the two at his office yesterday morning.
The two have been issued with warrants of arrest by the court.
“They may have studied all the legal moves and aspects of their case that’s why it took them three months to surrender,” Ferrer added.
Ferrer said that it is part of his advocacy to uphold the law at all times and that he is willing to facilitate any others who are also facing charges and are willing to surrender to authorities.
The vice governor said it would be up to the court to decide if the case is indeed politically motivated as alleged or not.
The La Carlota City Regional Trial Court (RTC) – Branch 63 has released an arrest warrant for 14 people who were allegedly involved in the murder of Moises Padilla Councilor Jolomar Hilario in March 2019.
The arrest warrants were issued by Judge Cyclamen Jison Fernandez, Presiding Judge of La Carlota City RTC – Branch 63 dated February 15, 2021. The said murder cases are not bailable.
Hilario was running for re-election at the time of the murder.
Based on an official report by the Moises Padilla town police back in 2019, Hilario was sleeping when around 50 armed individuals on board three trucks arrived and broke inside the victim’s home identifying themselves as insurgents from the New People’s Army (NPA).
The suspects shot Hilario multiple times, and at the same time threatened his wife and children, although they were left unharmed./DGB, WDJ