By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Two of the three suspects involved in the murder of a college teacher in Negros Occidental’s Binalbagan town were arrested in a follow-up police operation yesterday afternoon.
Police identified the suspects as 19-year-old Johnrey Castino and 21-year-old John Paulo Fernandez, residents of the said town.
Authorities have also gotten the identity of another one, but they have requested not to name the suspect for now.
They are facing murder charges, police said.
Binalbagan police chief, Major Randy Babor, said Castino had direct participation in the killing of 51-year-old Tony Lazaga, a teacher from the Binalbagan Catholic College.
Babor said they got a copy of the footage from a closed-circuit television camera, showing the three suspects stopping Lazaga and possibly declaring a hold-up.
However, Lazaga fought back when the suspects got hold of his bag, prompting them to stab him multiple times.
A post-mortem examination revealed the victim sustained a total of 16 stab wounds all over his body.
His hands also had wounds, proving that he tried to fight his assailants.
Babor said they have recovered a knife from the crime scene, believed to have been used in the stabbing.
He said the suspects also used a scissor in the attack.
A background check on the suspects revealed that they were not part of any organized robbery group.
They are added to the police station’s drug watchlist.
Babor said Castino will undergo drug tests to determine if he is under the influence of illegal drugs.
He also added that they are now hunting down the remaining suspect.
Meanwhile, Lazaga’s family doubted the incident was a hold-up, as the suspects only took the victim’s mobile phone and left behind his laptop and wallet.
Furthermore, Binalbagan Mayor Alejandro Mirasol strongly condemned the murder, and assured town residents that the incident was “isolated.”
Mirasol said the village tanods and the local police have stepped up their evening patrols to prevent crime incidents.
He also ordered the town police to hasten their investigation of the incident, then the local government would “hand in” the matter.
“I am hopeful that justice will prevail and that we will have answers soon,” Mirasol said./DGB, WDJ