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Evangelista slay ‘mastermind’ yields, seeks police protection

(Updated 9:51 p.m.) One of the two siblings being linked to the brutal carjack-slay of auto trader Venson Evangelista voluntarily turned himself in to Bulacan police Saturday night to clear his name. Bulacan police officer-in-charge Senior Superintendent Wendy Rosario said Raymond Dominguez went to his office of at 10 p.m. Saturday accompanied by his mother Betty and lawyer Joey Cruz. In a phone interview with GMANews.TV, Rosario said Dominguez sought police custody as a person in distress and not as a murder suspect. “Natatakot na siya sa kanyang buhay. Hindi na raw siya safe sa labas (He was fearing for his life. He said his safety will be compromised outside)," Rosario said. “Sabi ng lawyer (His lawyer said), ‘The safest place for him now is the police station,’" he added. Rosario replaced Senior Superintendent Fernando Villanueva, who was administratively relieved from his position pending investigations being conducted on several high profile criminal incidents during his watch as Bulacan police chief. Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Chief Superintendent Agrimero Cruz Jr. said these incidents included involvement of a policeman in illegal drugs, murder incidents and car thefts. Rosario said the police has no reason to refuse a person who comes seeking for his protection. He said he has no proof, however, that a threat to Dominguez’s life exists.

No special treatment “There’s no special treatment," said Rosario, adding that Dominguez’s family continued to shoulder his basic needs, including food, even when he is in police custody. In a report Sunday morning, radio dzBB quoted Rosario as saying that Dominguez can leave the police camp whenever he wants, but once he does, he will not receive security escorts and neither can he seek refuge again in the camp. DzBB quoted Dominguez's lawyer, Cruz, as saying that his client was not surrendering for the Evangelista case but only to clear his name. The police cannot detain Dominguez for the Evangelista murder because no arrest warrant has been issued against him, according to dzBB, citing the senior police superintendent. Dominguez's camp hinted that his brother Roger may also "voluntarily" turn himself over to police, dzBB reported. Quezon City police director Chief Superintendent Benjardi Mantele said they filed late Saturday complaints against two other suspects, Alfred Mendiola and Batibot Parulan, who were earlier arrested by the police. Six others are at large "The case was filed last night. Inabot kami ng midnight. Nagsimula kami 8 p.m. (We filed the case Saturday night. It took us until midnight. We started at 8 p.m.)," he said in a separate interview on dzBB. At least six others, including Roger Dominguez and at least two "John Does," are considered "at large," he said, but did not elaborate. Still, the cases filed Saturday did not take into account the carjack-murder involving Emerson Lozano, the son of Marcos lawyer Oliver Lozano. “Wala pang konkretong basehan (There is no concrete basis yet)," Mantele said, adding that the only link to the Dominguezes so far is the "similarity" of the Lozano and Evangelista cases. The Quezon City police has beefed up its anti-carjacking unit, following a series of some high-profile car robberies in the city. "There is now greater police visibility and equipment and capability buildup," Quezon City Mantele said. He also said he will upgrade the Quezon City Police District Anti-Carnapping Unit's operatives and equipment, add checkpoints, and maintain constant coordination with car dealers for added precautions against carjackers, Mantele said. Evangelista disappeared in Quezon City last Jan. 13 while doing a road test for a Toyota Land Cruiser he was selling. His charred body was found the next day in Nueva Ecija. On the other hand, Emerson Lozano and driver Ernani Sensil disappeared also in Quezon City Jan. 12 while on their way to meet a prospective buyer of a Kia Carnival van. Sensil's body was found in Tarlac the next day while Lozano’s was found in Pampanga Friday. Lozano’s van was found still burning in Bataan on Jan. 19. Senator cites bike-jacking incidents Sen. Pia Cayetano said in a statement Sunday the Aquino administration and the Philippine National Police (PNP) should also look into the alarming "bike-jacking" incidents that have become evident in the southern part of Metro Manila over the past weeks. Police visibility will help discourage "bike-jackers" from preying on defenseless cyclists who pass through Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, as well as Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas, according to the Senator "Over the past week, I have received various accounts regarding the recent theft and robbery incidents victimizing bikers," said Cayetano, head of the Senate committee on health and demography. "We have asked [the PNP] to stay on alert and respond to any calls from the bikers in the south," she added. Seven mountain bikes were forcibly taken by armed men on Daang Hari Highway in Bacoor, Cavite on Jan. 15. On Jan. 11, a lone biker was beaten up and stabbed in the thigh with an icepick by unidentified robbers, who then took his bike and helmet. The incident took place on El Grande Avenue in BF Homes-Parañaque. In various e-mail groups, several bikers have aired their concern with security, or the lack of it, and have alerted their peers to take precautions on the road, Cayetano said. "Some also suspect that the perpetrators could be selling the stolen bikes as 'chop-chop' parts in the same way that carjackers are known to chop-up and sell portions of stolen vehicles," Cayetano said. The senator advised her fellow bikers not to ride alone but in groups "as there is strength in numbers." Bishops alarmed, too On the other hand, Catholic bishops are alarmed over the recent spate of carjacking incidents in Luzon, but said this crime could not change their stance against the reimposition of the death penalty. Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez Jr. said the crime wave only shows how ineffective the government is in maintaining law and order. The series of carjacking incidents was due to "inefficient law enforcement and the culture of impunity," resulting in the breakdown in peace and order, according to Puerto Princesa Bishop Pedro Arigo. Retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said rampant crime incidents show more of a "dysfunctional justice system than anything else." Catarman Bishop Emmanuel Trance pointed out that the carjacking and killing incidents have been happening in all parts of the country, silently and continually." Thus, government should seriously consider "re-educating and re-training law enforcement agents," Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said. "They should be given communication equipment and transport facilities, and send policemen to cover regular beats," he added. Trance said the Church should find a way to help stop what he described as a "moral disaster." "More than political will, there should be the support of the citizenry and the transformation of our law and order agencies and institutions," he said. According to Iñiguez, the reimposition of death penalty in the wake of recent gruesome crimes will not solve and may even worsen the problem of injustice in the Philippines. Government should instead focus on effective law enforcement to send home the message that crime does not pay.— With reports from Paterno Esmaquel II and Jesse Edep/VS/KBK, GMANews.TV