Cezar slay linked to PUP corruption case - ex-PUP employee
Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) vice president Augustus Cezar was killed allegedly because he was planning to come out in the open about supposed corruption in the school.
This was the charge made by Joel Escandor, a former student affairs coordinator who filed 15 counts of graft and corruption charges against Cezar, PUP president Dante Guevarra, and other ranking PUP officials in 2007.
"Sa palagay ko ang dahilan kung bakit si Atty. Cezar ay pinaslang ay dahil ito sa pagsisiwalat niyang gagawin tungkol sa korupsyon na ginawa ni Dr. Guevarra sa kanyang panunungkulan," said Escandor.
In an interview with the new online news organization Move.ph, Escandor said he originally filed the corruption cases against the school president because "malinaw na malinaw na si Dr. Guevarra ay namumuhay mayaman, hari sa aming pamantasan."
According to the whistleblower, Cezar approached him last year, requesting if he could get his [Cezar's] name dropped from the charge sheet in exchange for becoming a witness.
"Kung pupuwede lang [daw] na tanggalin siya sa ifinile kong kaso at handa naman siyang magig testigo sa kasong isinampa ko laban kay Dr. Guevarra. Sabi ko korte na po ang magpapasya," Escandor said.
About a week before the ambush, Cezar allegedly tried convincing Escandor once more if the charges could be dropped, this time, in exchange for documents that would support the corruption cases against Guevarra and the other accused individuals.
"Paglabas ko, naka-usap ko si Atty. Cezar. Pagkasalubong ko, kaagad-agad niya ko niyakap [nang] mahigpit. 'Handa akong tumulong ngayon. May mga ibibigay akong mga dokumento na sa tingin ko makakatulong doon sa mga ikinaso mo laban kay Dr. Guevarra," Escandor recounted.
Cezar was shot twice in the head by two unidentified men along Pureza Street in Manila's Sta. Mesa district late Wednesday night. He died even before he could turn over the documents he promised to Escandor.
Escandor said he would not be surprised if Cezar's assasination would later be traced by investigators to the corruption case filed against the PUP officials. Escandor said he himself have been threatened before because of the cases.
Four years ago, two men drew a gun on him while he was on board a jeepney. The next day, the same pair of men tried harassing him in a taxi.
Last Thursday, Guevarra led the PUP community in condemning the attack and mourning Cezar's demise. Persistently denying the corruption charges, Guevarra told Move.PH that he knew nothing of Cezar's supposed intention to produce evidence against him.
The Manila Police District, which formed a task force to probe the shooting incident, already has at least four witnesses who can shed light on the ambush.
Investigators will also review the phone logs on Cezar's mobile phone to determine if the school official was receiving death threats prior to the attack. — TJD/HS, GMA News