Coconut vendor in viral mauling video arrested for murder

Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 06 2018 08:45 PM | Updated as of Nov 02 2018 08:54 PM

The coconut vendor who was allegedly mauled by Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) enforcers has been arrested for murder.

Police arrested Romnick Relos and his brothers, Roy and Dondon, for their alleged involvement in the killing of Junie Olete last March 25, 2007. 

The Relos brothers were brought to the Detection and Special Operations Unit of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame on Tuesday noon.

CIDG Director Roel Obusan said they were tipped off by residents from Aroroy, Masbate about the 2007 murder case.

"Noong nakita siya sa interview sa TV, regarding sa buko vendor-MMDA incident, napakadaming dumulog sa amin na kailangang mahuli dahil matagal na itong nagtatago, 2007 pa ang kaniyang kaso. Eleven years na," Obusan said.

Obusan said it became difficult for them to decide whether to arrest Relos at this time.

"Pinag-isipan naming mabuti kung huhulihin na o hindi pa dahil sa agam-agam na baka isipin ng tao na porke napa-trouble siya sa MMDA, huhulihin na ng CIDG. Naisip namin, na una, talagang dapat siyang hulihin dahil matagal na siyang nagtatago. Pangalawa, baka siya umalis sa kanyang kinaroroonan, mahirapan kaming hanapin. At mabigyan na rin ng hustisya ang namatay," Obusan said.

Obusan assured that Romnick Relos' arrest will not affect the result of his case with MMDA in any way.

"Tuloy naman ang investigation ng MMDA. We will see to it na magpaparticipate din siya doon at mabigyan ng tamang imbestigasyon kung sino talaga ang nagkasala sa insidente na yon. Iko-commit natin sa Masbate, pero hilingin natin na matapos muna ang imbestigasyon nya sa MMDA," Obusan said.

Romnick said he is ready to face trial for murder, but stood by his statement on the MMDA mauling incident.

"Mas ok na rin yon para mabayaran namin ang mga kasalanan namin. Pare-parehas kami ng kasalan," Romnick said.

"Itutuloy ko pa rin ang kaso ko (MMDA) kahit ako nahuli," he added.