MANILA – An Olongapo City court has issued a hold departure order (HDO) against Dennis Sytin, the businessman accused of masterminding the killing of his brother, based on a copy of a court document obtained by ABS-CBN News.
Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 72 Presiding Judge Richard Paradez issued the HDO on July 30, 2019, directing the Immigration bureau to prevent Sytin and another suspect, Oliver Fuentes alias Ryan Rementilla, from leaving the country.
Sytin and Fuentes are facing murder and frustrated murder charges over the killing of Sytin’s brother, Dominic, and the shooting of Dominic’s bodyguard in front of a hotel in Subic on November 28, 2018.
According to authorities, a third suspect, the gunman Edgardo Luib confessed to the crime after he was arrested in Batangas in March for a different murder case.
Luib admitted to shooting Dominic and bodyguard Efren Espartero upon instructions of Sytin in exchange for money. He claimed he met Sytin through Fuentes.
Aside from Luib's extrajudicial confession, police also relied on CCTV footage showing the gunman arriving at the hotel more than 2 hours before the incident, shooting the victim, and fleeing on board a motorcycle.
Police said Luib's fingerprints matched those found on the motorcycle.
Sytin has denied any involvement but authorities were looking into an alleged fight over control of the shares of United Auctioneers, Inc., one of the country's biggest auction firms, prior to the killing.
The Justice department indicted Sytin, Fuentes and Luib in late July and the same Olongapo City court issued warrants for their arrest on July 29.
“We welcome this development. The issuance of the warrant and the HDO ensures that all the accused remain within Philippine jurisdiction and once they are in custody, that trial proceed with dispatch,” Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, head of the prosecution panel, said in a text message to ABS-CBN News Wednesday.
“This is a uniquely heinous case that cry out in the high heavens for justice,” he added.
An Angeles City court in May also issued a precautionary HDO against the Sytin and Fuentes, who remains at large.