Celeste calls murder allegations 'black propaganda'

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 13 2013 07:12 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2013 03:12 AM

MANILA – Pangasinan 1st district Rep. Jesus Celeste dismissed as “black propanda” the allegations that he is one of the masterminds in the killing of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez.

“Isang maliwanag na black propaganda ito sa ngalan ng pulitika,” Martinez told ANC’s “Top Story” on Wednesday.

Celeste claimed that even Martinez’s family does not believe the allegations, adding that he and the slain mayor had been friends for more than 20 years.

Celeste was implicated in the murder by a 16-year-old witness, who said he was physically present when Celeste and another suspect, Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino Jr., planned Martinez's killing.

But Celeste said the witness, who also claims he has personal knowledge of two more killings in the province, does not have any credibility.

“Walang credibilidad ‘yung witness nila dahil 3 kaso na puro political killings ang wini-witness niya, pangtalo kami…Bayaran ‘yan, ‘yan ang hanapbuhay nila, kasama ang mga media dito sa probinsya,” said Celeste.

The witness is also testifying on the deaths of Kagawad Jovencia Gasmin of Barangay San Juan, Alcala, Pangasinan and Kagawad Nato Sabangan of Bayambang, Pangasinan.

The witness also implicated his own father, Jaime Aquino, in the mayor’s slay.

Espino’s lawyer, Atty. Abraham Espejo, also questioned the credibility of the witness.

According to Espejo, the witness is “notoriously” known for accepting money to give false testimonies.

“‘Yung mga ganyan testigo, dapat hindi kaagad binibigyan ng credibility, dapat bina-background check niyo muna,” he said.

Meanwhile, Celeste said he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), adding that he only learned of the charges through media.

“‘Yun ang kailangan gawin [ng NBI] Imbestigahan kami, kausapin kami para marinig nila ang side namin,” he said.