A co-accused of Corpuz, Carlito Samonte y Lapitan, is now facing the same murder charges at Branch 33 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Guimba town.
The charges of murder in the first degree carry no bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, said officer-in-charge Provincial Prosecutor Floro F. Florendo.
Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija police director Senior Supt. Ricardo Marquez directed his field officers to serve the warrant issued by the court against the mayor of Cuyapo to show the people that the rule of law reigns in the province.
Court records show that on June 4, 2008, Angelito Espinoza, 40, married, of Mabini, Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija, was shot dead allegedly by Carlito Samonte y Lapitan, 56, alias "Kuratong," of Barangay San Jose, Cuyapo.
Espinoza was only three days old in his position as board secretary when hew was slain. Samonte was driver-security aide of Mayor Corpuz.
The scene of the shooting incident was at the rear of the town hall, just a stone throw away from the police station.
In his resolution, Prosecutor Florendo stated that witness Alexander Losano saw the mayor talking earlier with Samonte, saying "…(unprintable) yang Litong iyan! Sige! Birahin mo."
The evidence showed that Mayor Corpuz gave a white stainless gun to Samonte. Samonte later shot to death Espinoza.
It was shown during the preliminary investigation that the mayor and his companion belonged to the Bagong Lakas ng Nueva Ecija (Balane), a party opposed to the party of Espinoza.
Florendo’s findings differed with that of Prosecutor Edison V. Rafanan, who had earlier dismissed the case against Corpuz on the "ground of the incredibility and/or inconsistencies of the testimony of principal eyewitness Alexander Lozano."
Florendo stated that upon his review of the evidence thus far presented, there was prima facie evidence established in the case.
His resolution also stated that Espinoza had led a campaign against the abuses in office of Mayor Corpuz and instigated the filing of criminal and administrative charges against him with the Ombudsman.
To prove conspiracy, Florendo said Corpuz was Samonte’s boss, and an angry order from his boss would be a compelling force to do it.
Florendo stated: "Samonte practically has no sufficient motivation to kill Espinosa. What would he personally gain therefrom? Nothing. Then, why the temerity on his part to do such a thing, in a public place in the vicinity of the municipal hall and almost in front of the police station, with so many people around and present, including armed police officers, but who, later on, were not able to do anything to prevent the commission of such a crime? The answer is obvious!"
By MAGTANGGOL C. VILAR
March 15, 2009, 9:19pm