Police official, tagged as “brains” in hotelier’s slay

By , on June 25, 2014

Shutterstock photo
Shutterstock photo

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A police official was among four suspects charged with murder of businessman and hotelier Richard King on June 12, 2014.

Criminal charges were filed against police Superintendent Leonardo Felonia, who surrendered Monday night to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. Felonia was pinpointed by one of the three arrested suspects in the killing of King as the “brains” behind the businessman’s slaying.

Felonia is the head of the Philippine National Police Regional Intelligence Office of Region 11. He has since been relieved of his post, and placed under restrictive custody at police headquarters.

Also charged were Paul Dave Molina Labang, 24, the alleged gunman; brothers Rommel and Rodel dela Cerna, the lookout and the driver of the getaway motorcycle, respectively.

Labang, who was arrested by police at an earlier date, shot King in the head at close range while the hotelier was having a dinner meeting with his staff at his Vital C Health and Wellness Products building along Sobrecary St. Barangay Obrero in Davao City.

The gunman confessed to the killing, and identified Felonia as the person responsible for hiring them to commit the crime. Labang added that they were led by Felonia to believe that King was involved in the illegal drug trade, and that they were unaware of who King was until his death was publicized the next day.

King’s younger brother James filed the charges at the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office.
Duterte, meanwhile, directed Felonia to surrender to the National Bureau of Investigation.

Felonia, who was straightaway brought to the NBI Region 11 office in Davao City, has denied the charges against him, stating that he has come forward to authorities in order to clear his name.

He vowed to prove that he has nothing to do with the King case.

Davao City police director Senior Superintendent Vicente Danao Jr. said the motive of the killing remains unclear, and has yet to be determined.

King headed the J. King & Sons Co. Inc., developer of Crown Regency, Club Ultima and the City Suites Ramos Tower in Cebu City, and the Crown Regency Hotel along Cabaguio Avenue in Davao City.

He also held the position of founder and director of Boracay Multiple Properties Inc. that developed the Crown Regency Boracay Resort.