In a sworn statement submitted during Tuesday’s preliminary investigation of the murder complaint, the victim’s widow, Crisanta Martinez, admitted being “surprised” when the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) informed them that Espino and Celeste were implicated in the killing.
“Pilit kaming pinapipirma ng reklamo ng NBI laban kina Governor Espino at Congressman Celeste subalit kami ay tumanggi dahil alam namin na walang katotohanan ang paratang na iyon,” Mrs. Martinez said.
“Sinabi namin sa NBI na imposible ang paratang na iyon dahil sina Governor Espino at Congressman Celeste ay parehas malapit at kaalyado ng aming ama sa ilalim ng partidong Nationalist People’s Coalition,” she added.
The Martinez family claimed that it was even Celeste who immediately contacted the NBI to seek help for the killing that happened last December 12, 2012 in Infanta.
“Hindi kami naniniwala o sumasangayon sa pagsampa ng NBI kay Gov. Amado Espino at Congressman Jesus Celeste dahil ito ay pawang walang katotohanan,” the widow said.
She said her family had already asked the NBI to instead investigate lawyer Florante Miano, who the family thinks is the man behind the killing. They said Miano was the victim’s “known political foe.”
Mrs. Martinez, however, said the NBI investigators refused to heed their request. “Sa halip, isasampa daw nila ang kaso kahit ayaw namin,” she said.
This prompted the Martinez family to file on their own a criminal complaint against Miano, Mrs. Martinez said.
For their part, the victim’s children suspected the death of their father was being “exploited to promote the political agenda of some people.”
“Those who are most innocent are being framed up and accused, while the real masterminds go scot-free and continue to sow deceit and lies at the expense of true justice for the death of our father,” said Richard and Martin in a separate statement.
Also during Tuesday’s preliminary investigation, Espino submitted his counter-affidavit to the charge lodged against him and asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the murder case.
Espino said the lone witness used by the NBI to file a murder complaint against him was “not a credible witness, having a checkered history involving errant school behavior, previous incidents of duping people for money, threatening his siblings and drug use.”
The witness Espino was referring to is the 16-year-old son of a Pampanga-based journalist Jaime Aquino. The elder Aquino in February asked for and was granted by the Supreme Court with a writ of amparo.
The high court had asked the DOJ and the NBI to explain why the younger Aquino was taken into government custody following the killing of Martinez.
In his petition, the elder Aquino, publisher of community paper Northern Weekly, demanded that his son be returned to him, saying the boy would not be a credible witness given his history of drug use, lying, and theft.
The elder Aquino said the Espino and Celeste families had already gone “extremely angry” at him because they thought he was using his son to implicate them in the killing.
The Espinos and the Celestes also accused Aquino of supporting Alaminos mayor Hernani Braganza, who is going up against Espino in the gubernatorial election next month. — KBK, GMA News