Conspiracy daw? Samar mayor doubts son’s claim on brains behind village chief murder

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The arrest of a murder suspect has deepened political divides in Samar province even among members of family.

In a statement issued Tuesday, San Jorge, Samar Mayor Joseph Grey refuted the claim of his son, Francis, who pointed to Calbayog Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and retired army official Emil Zosa as masterminds of the killing of a village chief two years ago.

Authorities arrested the mayor’s son on Dec. 7 at the suspect’s hideout in Balihai Subdivision in Imus, Cavite. In a media interview upon his arrival in this city on Dec. 14, Francis named the re-electionist mayor of Calbayog and the Samar gubernatorial bet as behind the murder.

The younger Grey admitted that he killed Romulo Barcoma, a village chief of Sapinet in San Jorge town acting on orders of the two politicians.

“I don’t know what happened to my son, but I want to clear this. Zosa and Aquino were not involved in that murder case. The confessions were extracted under duress,” the mayor said.

“The three of us are friends and we belong to the same party. These people behind all of this is doing everything for us to fight and lost each other’s trust.”

Francis’ statements were already contained in an extra judicial confession subscribed and sworn to before a lawyer in Quezon City.

In a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Aquino denied all accusations hurled against their group since they are peace-loving officials.

“This is politically-motivated. The truth is that village officials who are supportive to us have been harassed by our opponents,” Aquino said.

Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan said they are not involved in the arrest of Samar’s most wanted person.

“I watched the interview with Francis Grey as posted on social media. The process was an entire police operations and since there was a crime committed, someone has to be answerable. We never had a chance to talk to the suspect,” Tan told reporters on Tuesday.

She said it is always possible that their political opponents may run a propaganda, to appear that their family is behind these smear campaign considering that the officials and personalities mentioned by Francis are their political opponents in the past elections.

“I am calling for my party mates and my political opponents to aspire for a peaceful election, to campaign hard and not to resort to violence. Let the people decide as to whom they want to vote and whom they want serve,” said Tan, who is seeking to represent Samar’s 2nd district in Congress.

The governor’s mother, Milagrosa, the incumbent representative, will run for governor, the post she held for nine years until 2010 with Zosa, who ran and lost in the previous election against Sharee Ann. He is the husband of Santa Margarita town Mayor Gemma Zosa.

Aquino’s reelection bid is challenged by former Calbayog Councilor Raymun Uy, an ally of Tan’s political clan. (PNA)