by Ofelia C. Empian
Two of three suspects in the killing of C/Insp. Benjamin Challoy, who is assigned to the police Highway Patrol Group in Bontoc, Mountain Province, were charged for murder last week.
The suspects are Cpl. Gerson Bucad Lumines, 28 years old from Paracelis, and Sgt. Elvis Wansi Gannisi, 39, from Natonin.
Both suspects are member of the 5th Military Intelligence Branch and 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army while the third suspect, also identified as coming from the Army, is still unidentified.
Lumines and Gannisi are under the custody of their commanding officers while the third suspect remains at large.
Police Regional Office - Cordillera Information Officer C/Insp. Carolina Lacuata said the suspects have received the affidavit from the courts Monday last week.
She clarified that the two suspects did not surrender yet but have only sought the custody from their commanding officer in Gamu, Isabela.
In the evening of April 2, the suspects allegedly aided one another in shooting to death Challoy, 40, former chief of police of Bontoc.
Challoy died while he was being brought to the Bontoc General Hospital after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds.
Lacuata said there have been efforts from the local government unit of Mountain Province urging for the surrender of the suspects to proper authorities.
“The LGU wants the suspects to surrender to ease the tension,” Lacuata said.
She said it is understandable that the suspects have apprehensions in surrendering to the Bontoc police but said the suspects can surrender to the Cordillera police command in Camp Dangwa, La Trinidad, Benguet.
She added the situation has also caused some tension to students from Natonin and Paracelis, who are studying in Bontoc.
Acting Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, during Mountain Province’s celebration of its 50th founding anniversary and Lang-ay Festival, said the incident is an isolated case in their area.
“Our province is generally peaceful, the people here are peace-loving,” Lacwasan said.