MANILA - Police authorities in Davao City are now investigating a businesswoman suspected of being the mastermind behind the killing of Crown Regency Hotel owner Richard King last June 12.
Speaking to radio dzMM on Wednesday, Davao City police chief Sr. Supt. Vicente Danao said they are looking at business rivalry as the possible motive behind the crime.
Danao said initial probe showed that a businesswoman, whom he did not identify, had links to Sr. Supt. Leonardo Felonia, the police official who allegedly ordered the gunman to shoot King.
"As of now, ang maaaring motibo po niyan, somebody might have hired itong si Police Sr. Supt. Felonia. Naghahanap lang po kami ng mas matibay na ebidensya po na magli-link po sa kanya. May isang negosyante po na babae kasi na lumalabas na pangalan na involved po kay Sr. Supt. Felonia," he said.
Felonia, chief of the regional police intelligence unit, surrendered to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte after one of the three suspects arrested earlier claimed that he was the one who ordered them to kill the hotel owner.
Suspect Rommel dela Cerna alleged that Felonia called him and told him to look for King inside the Vital C building in Obrero, Davao City last June 12.
Upon confirming that the businessman was inside the building, dela Cerna said alleged gunman Paul Labang went in and shot King.
They then escaped on a motorcycle driven by dela Cerna's brother, Rodel.
According to Danao, they suspect Felonia is a member of a gun-for-hire group.
Danao also noted that Labang is frequently seen with Felonia every time the police official goes to the firing range.
"Siya (Labang) po ang nag-a-assist palagi, siya ang pulot boy, siya yung naglalagay ng bala sa magazine ni Police Sr. Supt. Felonia po," he said.
Murder charges have been filed against the four suspects.
Meanwhile, Danao said no one was given the P1.3 million reward offered by King's family and the city government for information leading to the suspects' arrest.
"Kung kami po ang tatanungin, lalong-lalo na sa akin, siguro I would rather suggest sa family na ibigay na lang po sa iba," he said.
He also suggested that the money be donated in kind to the city police office instead.
"O kaya kung meron po silang ibibigay sa pulisya, ibigay po siguro nila in kind. Kasi ang pulis naman po lalong-lalo na dito sa Davao City police, nagtatrabaho naman po hindi lang po dahil may reward kundi it is our duty po talaga na trabahuin po yan," Danao said. -- With report from dzMM