Probers fear cop in hotelier's slay may leave PH

By Edith Regalado, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jun 27 2014 02:59 AM | Updated as of Jun 27 2014 10:59 AM

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Authorities expressed fear yesterday that the police officer implicated in the killing of prominent businessman and hotelier Richard King might leave the country to escape possible criminal prosecution.

“We received reports that Senior Superintendent Leonardo Felonia is planning to leave for Panama and that he has a multiple-entry US visa. We are monitoring his movement,” said Senior Superintendent Vicente Danao Jr., Davao City police chief.

Felonia, along with the alleged gunman Paul Dave Labang and brothers Rommel and Rodel dela Cerna, was charged with murder for the killing of King.

The Dela Cernas reportedly acted as lookout and driver of a motorcycle that Labang used to escape from the scene.

King was shot dead inside the Vital C Health and Wellness building in Barangay Obrero, this city last June 12.

Labang pointed to Felonia as the one who allegedly paid them P30,000 to kill King.

On Monday night, Felonia presented himself before Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who asked him to report to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) office here.

But the NBI Region XI said they could not keep Felonia in their custody as no arrest warrant was issued against him.

Felonia’s lawyer Ceasar Europa, former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao Chapter, told The STAR that the police official has reported to the Philippine National Police-Intelligence Group office at Camp Crame.

Last Monday, Felonia was relieved from his post as chief of the PNP regional intelligence unit after his name was linked to the killing.

Europa said after his relief, Felonia went to Camp Crame where he is now reporting for work.

“But he (Felonia) is not under restrictive custody as earlier reported. He reports to his post in Camp Crame and he is free to get in and out of the camp without any restrictions,” Europa said.

The lawyer said Felonia “went to the NBI on his own volition and submitted himself and made himself available for investigation or questioning. He was never arrested and he never surrendered.”

Europa said there is no arrest warrant yet against Felonia. He said what was filed against his client was a regular preliminary investigation and that he was not subjected to inquest proceedings.