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Witness identifies Ilocos town mayor as mastermind in double murder case

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

A mayor in Ilocos Sur is currently in hot water after he was accused of being the mastermind in a double murder case back in 2013.

The wheels of justice are finally turning for the family of slain victims Honorata Sumibcay, and Jimmy Boy Galasino, for the first time in seven years as the prosecution presented its first witness – Dindomar Sumibcay, son of Honorata, who positively identified accused Sonny Quibilan and Jofel Reton as the persons who shot to death Honorata and Jimmy Boy on February 11, 2013 at the Cabugao Public Market.

In the same hearing, Dindomar also pointed to Cabugao town Mayor Edgardo Cobangbang, Jr. as the mastermind in the killings.

Dindomar recently told the court that Quibilan and Reton are known to be Cobangbang’s “hitmen.”

As present, only Quibilan is being tried in court of the three suspects as the cases for double murder against Reton and Cobangbang are still pending resolution with the Department of Justice.

The Supreme Court recently transferred the venue the double murder case filed against Quibilan from the Regional Trial Court of Cabugao, Ilocos Sur Branch 28 to the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando, La Union, Branch 28 presided by Judge Nyerson Dexter Tualla.

Meanwhile, high tribunal has also ordered the transfer of venue of the case from the Regional Trial Court Branch 24 of Cabugao after it recognized the possibility that Mayor Cobangbang, Jr. will be able to use all available means to make sure that the cases against him, Reton and Quibilan do not go to trial.

The SC noted that the belief of petitioner Sumibcay that the “murder of his mother Honorata Sumibcay and her partner Jimmy Boy Galasiano was politically motivated and points to the incumbent Mayor of Cabugao and the Cobangbang family—who has been in power since 2010 to 2016 and again in 2019—as the persons behind the killings.”

The court also noted “the incident on 3 October 2018 as narrated by Lucia Sumibcay in her October 8, 2018 sworn statement, that she handed a hefty envelop containing P120,000 to convince petitioner to drop or withdraw the criminal cases against him, Reton and accused Quibilan, warrant the change of venue of the criminal cases.”

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