The National Bureau of Investigation is exerting efforts to identify a “clan” in the 6th district of Negros Occidental, that allegedly hired the services of a local group of assassins, to kill Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Henry Arles.
“We are now trying to tie up the group of known hitmen and the mastermind”, NBI Bacolod chief Ferdinand Lavin said. He, however, added that they are not closing the door on eight to 10 other possible suspects in the death of Arles.
Arles was assassinated on April 24 in Brgy. Manalad, Ilog, and a month after, NBI probers and Task Force Arles are still trying to identify the hired assassins and mastermind in his killing.
Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said they are looking over the four major cases handled by the judge where his decision had aggrieved three parties.
Lavin said they and Task Force Arles are closely coordinating and comparing notes, to establish a case against the suspects.
The Arles family is offering a P1 million reward for the arrest and indictment of the suspects behind the death of the judge, on top of P200,000 being offered by the Philippine Judges Foundation.
Lavin said NBI agents have been shuttled between Ilog, Kabankalan, and Candoni to follow up what he described as very good leads. “We are validating the identities of the persons spotted at the vicinity of Kabankalan RTC, before the death of Judge Arles. Hopefully, they may be identified by witnesses”, he added.
He, however, said the two “look-outs”, whose facial sketches were released to the media, are not the assassins.
One of them was described as 40 to 45 year old, male, of medium build about 5 feet and 6 inches tall, with dark brown complexion, while his female companion was between 20 to 25 years old, of small build, with brown complexion.
Lavin said the group of assassins are residents of the 6th district, whose services were hired but did not elaborate.
“If we can get the identities of the gunmen and their group, we have to tie them up with the motive for the killing, based on the records, we are scrutinizing in court,” he added.
Lavin confirmed that they have taken into custody some people, who, he hopes, will provide more good leads, with the Arles family taking care of their basic needs.
When they are ready to file the case, they will file it jointly with the police, he added.*GPB