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Suspects in murder of judge in La Union charged

BANEZ (FB photo)

BANEZ (FB photo)

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The La Union police have filed a murder case against four suspects in the Nov. 5, 2019 murder of Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez in Barangay Mameltac in this city.

Police Col. Jay Cumigad, La Union police director and head of the Special Investigation Task Group Bañez, identified the two suspects as Napoleon Taliño of Becques, Tagudin, Ilocos Sur, the alleged mastermind; and alleged gunman Vladimir Binayug Arcain of Barangay Bahay Toro, Quezon City.

Cumigad said the third suspect is a woman who would be one of the witnesses while the fourth suspect is still unidentified.

The case was filed before the sala of Robert Fangayen, associate prosecutor of the City Prosecutor’s Office here.

Cumigad said the suspects were identified based on CCTV footages that were sent and verified by experts in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Investigators believed that the motive of the killing is work-related.

It was learned that the slain judge acquitted a certain Rachel Mariano, a health worker from the Cordillera region, last September of murder.

Mariano was accused by the military as an official of the New People’s Army who allegedly led the ambush on members of the Army 81st Infantry Battalion in 2017 in Quirino, Ilocos Sur where one soldier was killed.

Bañez, 54, was former acting judge of the 13th Municipal Trial Court in Alilem-Sugpon, Ilocos Sur from 2007-2011, and judge of the 12th MTC Tagudin-Suyo, also in Ilocos Sur, before he became RTC judge of Branch 25 in Tagudin, Ilocos Sur.

A source said Bañez was a religious person, being a former seminarian.

Bañez was on his way home driving his Hyundai Accent (license plates ACL-1508) when he was killed on the barangay road.

Residents took him to the Bethany Hospital here where he was declared dead from multiple bullet wounds. (Erwin Beleo)