DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/24 May) – A Visayan-speaking guy identified only as “Loloy” has repeatedly surfaced as the “mystery man” in the three-day investigation here on the killing of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
On the first day of the CHR-led public inquiry in the Tentorio killing on Wednesday, Dominador Damlayon named “Loloy” as the one who took him and relative Roberto Mabilao to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) in Cagayan de Oro (CDO) City in February 2012.
Damlayon, a lumad farmer from Arakan, was presented by the NBI on February last year as a witness to the killing of Tentorio in Arakan, North Cotabato on October 17, 2011.
But Damlayon recanted his testimony three months later, saying he had not witnessed the killing and that he was in his house in Barangay Malibatuan in Arakan the day Tentorio was killed.
Tentorio, a missionary of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions, was parish priest of Arakan and killed at the parish compound.
Lawyer Angelito Magno, acting regional director of NBI in Region12, told the panel that he had no idea who “Loloy” is.
Magno said that “only NBI agents were present when they took the statement of Damlayon at the NBI office in CDO.”
On the second day of the inquiry on Thursday, Mabilao, Damlayon’s relative, confirmed before the panel that he knew “Loloy,” whom he met in Barangay Lumundao, Marilog District in Davao City.
CHR chair Loretta Rosales asked him how well he knows “Loloy.”
“Close friend kami (We’re close friends),” Mabilao answered.
But when Rosales pressed Mabilao if he knows the occupation of “Loloy,” he replied: “Wala ko kabalo, basta nag-ila kami sa Lumundao (I don’t know. We met each other in Lumundao).”
Mabilao admitted that it was “Loloy” who called him on his mobile phone and asked him to look for a member of the Tinananon Kulamanon Panaghiusa sa Arakan (Tikulpa) in Arakan.
Mabilao said he called Damlayon, his relative, but admitted that he never bothered to ask “Loloy” why he was looking for a member of Tikulpa.
Damlayon initially refused to go with Loloy to CDO if he (Mabilao) will not come, Mabilao recalled.
Mabilao said he decided to accompany his relative to CDO.
While the NBI was taking the statement of Damlayon, Mabilao said he just waited outside the room.
Mabilao also bared that “Loloy” gave them fare to go back to Marilog District plus another P500 for Damlayon and P300 for himself.
Damlayon earlier said that Loloy gave them P500 each, apart from another P500 for their fare going back to Arakan from Lumundao.
When Rosales asked why “Loloy” gave them money, Mabilao said “it will be used for buying rice and other needs for their family.”
On Friday, Jimmy Ato, the alleged gunman according to the NBI, also named “Loloy” as the one who accompanied the NBI agents when he was arrested.
Ato was arrested by NBI agents on December 29, 2011 in Sitio Mahiwakhiwak, Barangay Kulaman in Arakan. He was presented to the CDO media the following day.
The suspect recalled that on December 28, 2011, he noticed several men preparing to cook at the kiosk in their village. He said he offered them to cook in his house.
Ato told the panel the men told him their purpose in coming to the village was for gold mining.
Later on, he said the men offered to make him a security guard at the supposed mining project for a monthly salary of P5,000.
Ato, who claimed he had not attended school, said the men left the village later in the day but one of them, who identified himself as “Loloy,” promised they will return soon with engineers.
He recounted that “Loloy” and his group came back to their village at around 5 a.m. on December 29, and later on arrested him.
Ato said he later learned in CDO that the one who handcuffed him was lawyer Ferdinand Balduman, a senior NBI agent then assigned at the NBI- General Santos City.
Balduman was reassigned to NBI-Caraga in November 2012.
Ato told the panel that he had no participation in the killing of Tentorio.
Lawyer Karlos Zarate, one of the legal counsels for the Catholic Church, told MindaNews that authorities should locate “Loloy.”
Zarate believed that someone is handling “Loloy” to deliberately derail the investigation.
Ato and Damlayon had pointed to “Loloy” as the one who dictated to them what to say during the questioning of the NBI agents.
Ato, along with his co-accused and younger brother Robert, is now in the custody of North Cotabato 2nd District Representative Nancy Catamco. (Keith Bacongco / MindaNews)