MARTINEZ FAMILY SPEAKS OUT
LINGAYEN—We have enough evidence.
This was the confident assertion of the two sons of slain Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez during a press conference last February 28, three days after they filed a complaint against Atty. Florante Miano in connection with the assassination of their father.
Martinez brothers Richard and Marvin, together with four witnesses, filed a complaint against Miano before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor Evangeline Rivera, at the Regional Trial Court in Lingayen.
The four witnesses who gave their individual testimonies were Rizalde Bernal, Charlito Maniago Sr., Jerome Melanio, and Celestino Ginez.
Apart from their witnesses, Marvin said they have other strong evidence but refused to specify these.
The sons said their father told them that should something bad happen to him, Miano would be the only person who would have the motive to do so.
“Nasabi niya sa amin na kung may mangyayari sa kanya, wala na ibang gagawa kundi si Miano,” they said.
Marvin also noted that they already coordinated with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Dagupan City during the initial investigation and had already identified Miano as their lone suspect.
He said the announcement of the NBI two weeks ago that it filed charges against Gov. Amado Espino Jr. and 1st District Rep. Jesus Celeste instead for allegedly masterminding the murder of Martinez, therefore, came as a surprise to the family.
“Pagdating sa NBI Manila, iba na po ang pinapalabas nila,” said Marvin, adding that this prompted them to file the complaint against Miano.
Marvin said politics and the controversial pier in Infanta are found at the root of Miano’s motives.
Miano, meanwhile, maintained his innocence saying he was surprised by the filing of charges against him and why it took the family a couple of months after the crime to file the charges.
“But I take this as a blessing and opportunity for me to clear my name. I dare them to show their evidence,” said Miano, who is running for vice mayor in the May 13 elections against Richard Martinez who is substituting for his father who was killed in December.
He said the Martinez brothers and their witnesses merely want to destroy his candidacy as vice mayor.
Miano also said he has yet to receive a copy of the charges but said he welcomes the suit.
“They cannot remove from their mind my alleged involvement because I am the only one standing up against the mayor on several issues on mining and alleged corruption,” Miano said.
Miano has been leading protest actions against the pier expansion project in Barangay Cato where nickel mined from neighboring Zambales is brought in for shipment.
The Martinezes, in their complaint sheet, said, “Kahit na walang ginawang masama ang aming ama, pinalalabas ni Atty. Miano na ang naturang daungan ay pinagmumulan ng kurapsiyon na isa namang malaking kasinungalingan. Bukod dito, ilang ulit binantaan ni Atty. Miano ang aming ama, di lang sa pamamagitan ng pagsasalita kundi pati na rin sa pagsusulat ng isang pampleta na may kaukulang babala sa aming ama.”
But Miano said, “I don’t think they are serious (in their allegations) because right after the incident, they could have immediately reported what they knew to the police or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and volunteer their information.”
Meanwhile, the four witnesses said in their sworn statements that the late Mayor Martinez had told them in different instances that he has then been receiving threats from Miano.
Bernal, a councilor in Dasol and a close friend of the late mayor, mentioned that sometime in October and on Dec. 14, 2012, Martinez told him that he was bothered by the threats to his life he had been receiving from Miano.
Likewise, Barangay Chairmen Maniago and Melanio of Cato and Patima, Infanta claimed Martinez told them on November 3, December 14 and the morning of December 15, the day he was shot, about the death threats he was getting from Miano.
The threat allegedly started when Martinez, through Municipal Resolution No. 102-A, Series of 2011 titled “Endorsing the Construction and Operation of a Port by International Global Mining Exchange”, approved the building and operations of a pier on January 2012.
The pier started operating in June 2012.
Miano has previously asserted that a lot of people are decrying the project.
Miano further argued that Martinez also approved mining operations in front of the pier, which leads to environmental hazards and endangers the health and livelihood of the people.
The Martinez brothers have expressed their support to Espino and Celeste and described the NBI charges as “politically-motivated”.
“Labis kaming nalulungkot sa pangbababoy sa kamatayan ng aming ama dahil sa hinaluan ng pulitika ang hustisya,” they said.
Celeste, Espino and Martinez belong to the Nationalist People’s Coalition Party while Miano is running under the Liberal Party.–Johanne R. Macob and Eva Visperas