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Bacolod City, PhilippinesMonday, July 30, 2012
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with Rolly Espina

Lim-ao and Mayor Paul

Rolly Espina

Members of the United Negros Alliance will be in a dandy – when they meet later next week to pick their 2013 local bets.

While supporters of Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez had been salivating the past week with hints that former Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco had prodded Alvarez to contest the post of Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., they are caught in quandary.

The National Bureau of Investigation no less had named Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez as the alleged mastermind of the gunslaying of Kabankalan RCT Judge Henry Arles in an Ilog barangay while he was going home from work.

Mayor John Paul is the son of Vice Gov. Alvarez and brother of Rep. Mercedes Alvarez of the sixth district.

NBI Bacolod Chief Ferdinand Lavin said the murder complaint was filed before DOJ Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.

Vice Governor Alvarez, however, told the Visayan DAILY STAR Friday his son is innocent and he is consulting with a lawyer to face the murder charge in court.

Judge Arles was killed in Barangay Manalad, Ilog, at about 6:30 p.m. on April 24 while he was driving home from Kabankalan City.

The other co-indictees are Emmanuel Medes, Alvarez’s administrative aide; RPA-ABB members Marvin Salve and Gerald Gallano Tabujara, who are both still at-large; and Jessie Gedacan Daguia, Alejandro Castillo, and Eddie Magno Fortunado. The latter three are now under the NBI custody in Manila after they had asked for government protection.

Daguia reportedly admitted to shooting the judge three times with a .45 caliber pistol while on board a motorcycle driven by Tabujara. The latter also fired a gun at Judge Arles, the VDS Saturday reported.

The VDS report said that Fortunado disclosed that they first learned of the assassination plot in March, this year, when Salve, whom he met with Mayor Alvarez with whom he talked for a long time. Later, Salve and Tabujara also approached Daguia and told him of the plan to assassinate Arles last April 24.

Salve, Fortunado, Capunong and an identified woman followed Arles’ car on the way to Ilog from Kabankalan City.

When they reached Barangay Manalad, Salve reportedly instructed Capunong to overtake Arles’ car and block it to slow it down, the VDS reported.

It added that then Tabujara and Daguia, on board a motocycle, drove up to the side of Arles’ car, Daquia then fired two consecutive shots at the hapless judge. Tabujara reportedly fired a single shot, according to the NBI version of the confessions of the trio.

Apparently, the entire episode may be traced to the murder of former Ilog Councilor Antonio Gequillana in front of the East View Hotel along the Circumferential Road in Brgy. Villamonte. Arles was believed responsible for following up the Gequillana complaint against Alvarez which resulted in the dismissal from office of his co-respondents for Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices by the Sandiganbayan.

The problem confronting Avarez’s supporters in the UNA boils down to what can be done to alleviate the impact of the murder charge against his son, John Paul.

Look, it’s not just a police case. It is the NBI that had handled the meticulous investigation. The NBI probe was assisted by Arles’ family, mostly lawyers.

True, a person may be allowed to run for election since his son is presumed innocent until proven guilty. But how to answer the question that the effort to be closer to Cojuangco may be precisely to avail of the latter’s influence and power to extricate the Alvarez family from the murder case.

Per se, that’s an issue that is not going to die down even if Alvarez gets chosen as re-electionist vice governor to Marañon.

For that matter, there is persistent rumor that another politico, long associated with suspicious activities in the province, is reportedly the one handling Alvarez’s campaign for UNA endorsement to the governorship.

Perhaps, that may be the reason why Marañon had kept himself close-mouthed to Alvarez’s challenge to unseat him as UNA gubernatorial bet again in 2013.

I suspect that Marañon may have been informed by the Arles family and the NBI about the progress of their investigation into the Arles slaying.


While we are focused on the Arles’ case, we wish to congratulate the new officers of the Negros Press Club who were sworn into office Friday night at the Bascon Hotel.

The induction of NPC president Armando Toga was highlighted by the former launching of the NPC website. This will make available to watchers of the programs, projects and activities of the club, its members in the various affiliations, and also some news.

PPI Executive director Ariel Sebellino swore in the new officers led by Toga, with vice president Edgar Lucasan, Clarence Locsin, Aquilino Ciocon, Chrysee Samnillano, Hence Boy Cestina, Ranie Azue, Adrian Nemes III, Merlinda Pedrosa, Butch Bacaoco and ex-oficio officer Elmer Ubaldo.

Sebellino stressed that the future of print media lies in the community press and the brand of journalism that it dishes out to remain steadfast to its critical role of preserving democracy and protecting press freedom, the VDS reported Saturday.

Toga also inducted new members Cristina Magbojos, Erwin Nicavera, Darwisha Librando, Stefanie Azucena, Lisa Gapac, David Fajardo, and Mymy Alagaban.*

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