MANILA, Philippines - Hours after the first attempt on Ram Revilla’s life failed, the group accused of planning the murder approached star witness Ruel Puzon and asked him to kill the young actor for them.
Puzon is the police star witness whose statement led to the arrest of Revilla’s younger brother Ramon Joseph “RJ” Bautista, 18, and alleged gunmen Michael Altea and Roy Francisco Tolisora (Tolisoro in the charge sheet).
He claimed that Tolisora and Altea were his longtime friends.
In his statement, Puzon claimed that the first attempt on Revilla’s life happened on Oct. 12. He said he was awakened about 6 a.m. on that same day by his mother when a certain Vista and De la Cruz (no first names provided) arrived at their house in Poultry Compound, in Parañaque City.
He said he saw Altea along with Vista, De la Cruz, and a certain Bryan. He said they asked him to join them in the silver Toyota Vios and sped off.
“While we were aboard the said car, they told me their plan to kill a certain Ramgen and they asked me to join them,” Puzon said in his statement.
He said the group claimed that they went to Ramgen’s house in BF Parañaque in the wee hours of Oct. 12 to kill him.
“Michael said he and Kiko knocked on Ramgen’s door located on the 2nd floor (when) they heard a gun being cocked so they ran out of the house and rode the car and subsequently went to my house,” Puzon’s statement reads in Filipino.
He said it was then that the group asked him if he could do the killing, which he turned down.
The witness said the group pulled over at Tolisora’s house to get two handguns, but the suspect only surrendered a .45 caliber pistol and told Vista that the .38 caliber had already been pawned. They next proceeded to the boundary of Las Piñas City and Tramo, Parañaque, where he and Altea got off.
“But before Michael alighted I saw Norwin (no last name stated) giving the .45 to him and then we went our separate ways,” he said.
Two days after, on Oct. 14, Puzon said Altea went back to his house and called up Bryan to ask for money.
Bryan met them along C-5, Golden Haven in Las Piñas City and asked them to get in his car.
“There I noticed that he had another male companion. After this he handed Michael P19,000,” Puzon said, adding it was the first time he saw Bryan’s companion who was on the shotgun seat.
He later identified this person as Joseph, through a family picture.
“What I know is that he was the one who supplies information inside Ramgen’s house,” he said.
About 3 p.m. on Oct. 17, Michael and Bryan brought Puzon to Revilla’s place on President’s Avenue, Phase 6-A, BF Homes.
They did not go inside the house but went around its perimeter.
Bryan pointed to a black Nissan Montero parked in front of Revilla’s house and said “that was the car we used in our first failed attempt.”
Puzon said Bryan also called up Joseph to ask for Revilla’s plate number.
As for the alleged reason behind the plot to murder Revilla, Puzon said that based on what he knew, “Michael and Kiko will be paid two hundred thousand and that they wanted Ramgen dead because he was bad, a rebel son and hurts his siblings.”
In his statement, Puzon did not discuss if the group had other meetings after Oct. 17 but said Altea would often “brag that Bryan’s task to him will soon be over.”
He said he found out about Revilla’s death only on television, so he decided to come out to “give justice” to the young actor.
Revilla (Ramgen Jose Bautista in real life) was shot and stabbed to death inside his house on President’s Avenue about 10:45 p.m. on Oct. 28.
He was with girlfriend Janelle Manahan when a lone gunman barged inside his room and opened fire.
Manahan was shot in the face but survived the attack.
She underwent a five-hour surgery yesterday at the Asian Hospital in Muntinlupa City for the “restoration [of four] facial fractures,” according to her father Julius.
Puzon was next in line
The text messages retrieved by the police from Tolisora’s Nokia 6100 phone alluded to a plot to silence Puzon.
The alleged exchanges between Tolisora and Vista identified Puzon as “Chokat” and “Cacho.”
Altea, Tolisora, and Joseph are detained at the Parañaque police detention cell after they were charged with murder and frustrated murder. The police are now looking for Vista, De la Cruz, and Bryan.
The seventh suspect, Revilla’s younger sister, Ma. Ramona Bautista, fled to Hong Kong on Friday after recanting her statement that she was abducted by her brother’s attacker.
The preliminary investigation - except for Joseph’s - will start today before the office of assistant city prosecutor Leah Roma. Joseph has waived his right to undergo preliminary probe.
Manahan only learned of Revilla’s death on Saturday.
According to her father, the young actress had been asking about her boyfriend’s condition but they refused to confirm his demise until three days ago.
Manahan underwent facial surgery yesterday morning for the fracture caused by the bullet that hit her lower left eye and exited through her right jaw.
Mr. Manahan said his daughter fell on the floor but did not lose consciousness during the crime. She even asked Ramona to call an ambulance but the latter did not come back.