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‘Give us Apas shooter’

First Posted 11:57:00 06/06/2008

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CEBU CITY, Philippines - The Cebu City police is seeking custody of retired soldier Nestor Bugarin who surrendered last Wednesday to the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas (NBI-7).

Bugarin is accused of shooting to death two of his wife's relatives and wounding two others.

Police homicide chief Mario Monilar wrote NBI-7 Regional Director Medardo de Lemos requesting that Bugarin be turned over to the police because they were the ones investigating the case.

Yesterday, inquest proceedings started in the prosecutor?s office where complainants Telesfora and Maria Glen Pontanar met face to face for the first time with the man they accused of killing their loved ones.

Bugarin was given 10 days by Asst. Cebu City Prosecutor Simaco Labata to present controverting evidence to the charges of double murder and frustrated murder filed against him.

He was assisted by lawyers Ramesis Villagonzalo and Rafael Tatlonghari.

Villagonzalo said his client?s appearance showed good faith that he would face the criminal charges and not hide from the law.

Police had sworn statements of three eyewitnesses who identified Bugarin as the one shot dead his brother-in-law Esmeraldo Pontanar and Esmeraldo?s father Cristito.

Also wounded in the May 30 shooting rampage were Esmeraldo's wife Maria Glen and their 13 year old son at the San Antonio Village 2, barangay Apas, Cebu City.

Bugarin fled after the incident and surrendered on Wednesday to the NBI-7 after a P50,000 reward was offered by the Pontanar family to flush him out.

NBI-7 Chief De Lemos said earlier that Bugarin was not considered arrested because charges were still being evaluated at the Prosecutor's office and no arrest warrant was issued.

Prosecutor Labata told NBI representatives to bring Bugarin back to the prosecutor?s office on June 17, the day he will resolve the complaint.

Lawyer Ramon Duyongco told his clients in the Pontanar family not to worry about Bugarin?s stay at the NBI.

In a joint affidavit, homicide police said they looked for Bugarin in several areas in Metro Cebu but efforts proved futile until they learned that the retired soldier surrendered to the NBI.

SPO2 Rey Cuyos, PO3 Goeffrey Gutual and PO3 Julius Mabunay said Bugarin was turned over to the police on Wednesday which prompted them to inform Bugarin that he was placed under arrest.

But Bugarin preferred to stay at the NBI-7 compound prompting Monilar to write to the NBI asking for the turnover of the suspect.

A witness, John Marie Catherine Gallego, 18, house helper of Maria Glen, was one of those who tagged Bugarin as the shooter.

Gallego, in her affidavit said that Bugarin shot Esmeraldo two times.

When Cristito, Esmeraldo?s father, approached the men to calm the dispute and shouted "ayaw na" Bugarin turned on the old man and shot him.

The retired Philippine Air Force soldier also shot Maria Glen and her 13-year-old son, when they went outside the house to the road where the argument was going on.

The householper said Bugarin pointed his gun at her but the gun malfunctioned. /With a report from Correspondent Justin Anjuli K. Vestil

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