MANILA - The camp of Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino, Jr. urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss murder charges against him in connection with the killing of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez last December.
Espino's lawyers submitted on Tuesday his counter-affidavit with the DOJ panel investigating the complaint.
The counter-affidavit asserted that Espino could not have been behind Martinez's slay since both were "personal friends and allies."
Espino pointed out that the 16-year-old male witness of complainant National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the son of respondent Jaime Aquino, "is 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 alleged that Espino, his father, and respondent Pangasinan 1st District Rep. Jesus Celeste planned Martinez's murder at a beach resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan in order to prevent him from implicating them to alleged nickel mining.
Martinez's wife, Crisanta, meantime, submitted a sworn statement clearing Espino and Celeste. Mrs. Martinez and her children refused to sign the NBI complaint, insisting that the "real masterminds" behind Martinez's death are still out there.
"Our quest for justice is being misled by politics. The death of our father has been exploited to promote the political agenda pr some people. Worse, 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," Martinez's sons Richard and Martin said, in a statement.