Sr. Insp. Lopiya Pangilayan, head of the Maguindanao Provincial Police Mobile Group, and nine of her men went to Tacurong to serve the warrant for the arrest of City Treasurer Doris Lapuz and former Rep. Angelo Montilla but both were nowhere to be found.
The warrant was issued by Executive Judge Cader Endar.
The two were accused of masterminding the killing of former city treasurer Richard Escovia and a cashier at the City Treasurer’s Office in 2003.
Pangilayan was told Lapuz had left her office just few minutes after they arrived at the city hall.
Reports said Lapuz evaded arrest because not one among the police recognized her. She reportedly slipped out of City Hall and rode a tricycle. But Pangilayan says they belive Lapuz and Montilla are just in the city.
Escovia and some employees at the City Treasurer’s Office, on board an L300 van, were on their way to Davao City for an outing when waylaid by unidentified armed men along the highway in Buluan, Maguindanao.
Initially, the police said the motive was robbery. But when witnesses came out, it said the killings were work-related and identified a certain Imelda Reyes, former employee at the City Treasury, as behind the murder.
Reyes was arrested in 2005. But a year later, another witness came out who named Lapuz and Montilla as the alleged ‘real’ masterminds. The case was refiled and Reyes was released.
According to Judge Encar, no bail bond is recommended for the release of the accused.
Sultan Kudarat provincial police director Supt. Mamalintao Tocao has urged Lapuz and Montilla to come out in the open and face the charges filed against them.
“If they are really not part of the crime, so why hide? They must believe in the rule of court and the wheel of justice, and then tell the court what they know about the crime. They can’t hide forever,” said Tocao. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)