MANILA –The two police officers involved in the murder case of anti-crime crusader Zenaida Luz, who was killed by riding-in-tandem perpetrators last October in Oriental Mindoro are already in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) main headquarters in Manila.
The suspects identified as Sr. Insp. Magdaleno Pimentel Jr. of the Police Provincial Public Safety Company and Inspector Markson Almeranez, the police chief of Socorro town in the same province on Wednesday were transferred to the NBI by personnel from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) from the Oriental Mindoro jail where they were detained for charges over their alleged involvement in the killing of Luz last October 9.
Luz, the leader of the anti-crime civic organization Citizens Crime Watch (CCW) in Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa), was gunned down on Oct. 9 in front of her rented apartment that also served as CCW’s office in Barangay Maligaya in Gloria town, Oriental Mindoro. Her attackers were two pairs of motorcycle-riding gunmen, according to witnesses.
The first pair of attackers managed to flee the crime scene but the second was cornered by responding policemen in the nearby town of Pinamalayan where they were later identified as Pimentel and Almeranez.
The two were both graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy with Almeranez even awarded as outstanding police officer by PNP Director General Ronald dela Rosa a month before the killing.
The victim’s family filed a case of murder against Pimentel and Almeranez before Branch 42 of the regional trial court in Pinamalayan while a separate case of direct assault and frustrated homicide was filed at the municipal trial court by the responding policemen who were wounded when the suspects engaged them in a firefight while trying to escape the crime scene.
Last Jan. 10 , the Supreme Court ordered the transfer from Mindoro to Manila of the murder case of Luz.
SC spokesman Theodore Te said the magistrates, during their regular en banc session, granted the Petition for Prohibition and Mandamus with Application for Injunctive Writs dated Dec. 21, 2016 filed by Edward Christopher Luz, son of Zenaida, CCW and the Asosasyon ng Komentarista at Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (AKAP).
The SC granted the transfer of venue of the trial from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro to Manila or Makati City including the direct assault with multiple attempted homicide trial from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro to Manila or Makati City as well as the transfer of detention from Oriental Mindoro to the National Bureau of Investigation or Camp Bagong Diwa of the accused.
“The Court granted the request for transfer of venue of trial in the referenced cases from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro to the Regional Trial Court of Manila. The Executive Judge of the RTC of Manila is directed to cause the raffle of this case for trial before the specific branch of the RTC of Manila,’ the SC said.
As to the inclusion of witnesses-petitioner Christopher Luz and his co-witnesses in the Witness Protection Program, the SC directed them to address their request to the Secretary of Justice instead of the high court.