MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has acquitted Jovel Tan Entote, whom police earlier tagged as the godfather of carjacking.
Entote was acquitted of charges of qualified carjacking.
The court said evidence did not establish full well his identity as the perpetrator.
The Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) revealed last August 13 that Entote, its biggest catch since the government launched a crackdown against carjacking in February, was arrested on August 7 in Cebu City.
Entote was reportedly the one who financed notorious carjacking syndicates like the Dominguez, Salvatierra, Bonifacio, Onad Santiago and Baktin groups, which had all been neutralized by the PAOCC and the Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group in their previous operations.
PAOCC believes Entote is also responsible for 67 stolen cars, mostly sports utility vehicles, which the PAOCC and HPG have recovered in the province of Bohol and the cities of Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos since last year.
Entote, who is from Cebu, is the principal suspect in the killing of driver Rodolfo Petalino during the carnapping of a Toyota Hi-Ace Grandia (with plate number ZPZ-463) along Katipunan Road in Quezon City in April 2009. He was positively identified by two witnesses as the gunman