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NBI files frustrated murder raps vs Bar exam blast suspect

October 28, 2010 3:36pm

(Updated 4:54 p.m.) The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) filed multiple frustrated murder and multiple attempted murder complaints against Anthony Leal Nepomuceno, a prime suspect in the September 26 Bar examinations explosion in Manila.

NBI spokesperson Cecilio Zamora said the complaint, filed before the Department of Justice on Thursday, was based on the testimonies of witnesses who claimed that Nepomuceno lobbed the grenade that hurt more than 40 people, including San Sebastian College law student Raissa Laurel who lost her legs.

Zamora said the grenade-throwing could have been "premeditated" because the explosive used was intended to kill people.

"There is a plan, a motive to kill. The instrument used was a lethal weapon. It is meant to kill people, not just cause injuries," Zamora told reporters.

He added that the NBI is also looking into the possible involvement of still unidentified suspects in the blast.

Zamora also said that the bureau is still unsure whether the grenade-throwing was caused by fraternity wars or whether members of Nepomuceno's fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, plotted the explosion.

GMANews.TV is still trying to obtain a copy of the NBI's complaint.

The filing of the complaint paves the way for the preliminary investigation to be conducted by the DOJ. A department prosecutor will then determine probable cause to indict Nepomuceno for the crime.

Once probable cause is present, the DOJ will then file the appropriate charges before the proper court. If the court finds merit in the case filed by the DOJ, it will then issue a warrant of arrest against Nepomuceno.

Nepomuceno presented himself to authorities last Wednesday but denied he was the grenade-thrower.

Nepomuceno, a call center agent, graduated from the Manuel L. Quezon University. He belongs to the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity.

The suspect is accused of being the one who lobbed the grenade during the traditional Salubong, wherein well-wishers, law students, and relatives greet Bar examinees after taking the test.

He first surrendered to his fraternity brother, Vice-President Jejomar Binay, on Wednesday.

Willing to help prosecute

Earlier on Thursday, one of Nepomuceno's fraternity brothers, former Justice Secretary Silvestre Bello III, vowed to help prosecute him if the evidence is strong.

Bello III said the APO Fraternity will advise Nepomuceno to plead guilty if he is found liable for the explosion outside De La Salle University in Manila.

“Kung may kasalanan siya, kung kasalanan niya, positibo, I myself will prosecute him (If the evidence shows he is responsible, I myself will prosecute him)," Bello said in an interview on dwIZ radio.

“Kung makita namin malakas ebidensya sa brod we will advise our brod na justice must prevail in this case. Hindi komo brod namin siya kukunsintihin namin siya," he added.

(If we see the evidence against our brod is strong, we will advise him that justice must prevail in this case. Just because he is a fraternity brother does not mean our brotherhood will condone him.)

Bello said, as of now, he is “morally convinced" that Nepomuceno is innocent.

Citing the suspect's version of what happened on September 26, he said Nepomuceno was at home in Marikina City at the time the incident occurred.

“Malinis ang kanyang konsensya (His conscience is clean)," he said.

Bello also said there is little chance that Nepomuceno will flee the country while the investigation is ongoing, saying he comes from a poor family.

"I don’t think he can afford to leave the country," he said, noting Nepomuceno’s mother is a public school teacher and his father is a pedicab driver. — VVP/RSJ, GMANews.TV
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