The Lucena City Regional Trial Court on Thursday sentenced three former police officers to life imprisonment in connection with the death of the son of former Sariaya, Quezon Mayor Marcelo Gayeta, and his security escort in March 2019.
The accused are former Tayabas City Police Station chief Police Colonel Mark Joseph Laygo, Police Corporal Lonald Sumalpong, and Patrolman Roberto Legaspi.
According to the lawyer of the victim’s family, the accused were found guilty of double murder and sentenced to life imprisonment twice.
The victim in this crime is Christian Gayeta, son of the former mayor, and his security escort, Christopher Manalo.
Judge Dennis Orendain of Lucena RTC Branch 53 issued the said decision.
“Ang naging hatol dalawang kaso, isang kaso sa pagpatay kay Christian Gayeta at isang kaso sa pagpatay kay Christopher Manalo,” said Crisanto Buela, lawyer of family Gayeta.
3 policemen guilty of killing ex-mayor’s son
According to the authorities, the police responded to a report of an alleged mugging by two men on a motorcycle at a gas station.
But the operation allegedly fought back and ended in a shootout that resulted in the killing of the two suspects, who were later identified as Gayeta and Manalo.
The investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) shows that the two victims were already in police custody when they were killed.
The former mayor welcomed the court’s decision and said they had waited a long time to get justice.
“Napakatagal naming hinintay itong araw na ito… bilang na bilang ng mga anak ko ang bawat araw. Tuwang-tuwa kami, siyempre,” he said.
“Bagama’t hindi na babalik ‘yung anak ko, alam ko na maraming buhay pa ang nai-save namin dahil ginamit lang ‘yung anak ko upang nang sa ganoon ay maputol na ang kalapasatangang ginawa ng mga datihang pulis na ‘yan,” he added.