The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Tuesday said it has filed murder and theft charges against two police officers and two unidentified suspects before the Department of Justice (DOJ) last May 29 for the killing of a son of former Congressman Salvador B. Britanico.
NBI Officer-In-Charge (OIC) Eric Distor said the NBI-Death Investigation Division (NBI-DID), filed the charges against Subjects PCpl. Jerry Villanueva, PCpl. Joseph Andrew Joven, and two unidentified males, for the death of Delfin Britanico, son of the congressman. The victim sustained eight gunshot wounds on his head and on different parts of his body.
In a joint statement, they said “Today, one hundred thirty days after the shooting and murder in broad daylight of our dearest husband, father, son, brother, and family member Delfin Celestial Britanico on 19 January 2020 in Iloilo City, the criminal charges of murder and theft have been filed against four suspects.
“We ask that the Philippine National Police immediately place the identified suspects on restrictive custody and make them face the charges filed against them.”
Administrative charges shall also be filed against these suspects with the National Police Commission (Napolcom).
Results of investigation disclosed that on January 19, 2020, at about 12:10 in the afternoon, Delfin left their house at Prime Estate Subdivision and drove his BMW motorcycle to visit their Avida condominium unit in San Rafael, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
At about 12:17 in the afternoon, his wife received a phone call from him regarding some suspicious looking guys. His call abruptly ended and his wife returned-call Del, the latter’s mobile number was already out of reach.
Soon after, the security guard at Prime Subdivision heard four successive loud explosions. The security guard and Delfin’s wife proceeded to the foot of the bridge along Trenas Road and saw the bloodied and unconscious Delfin lying on the road. Delfin was brought to Medicus Hospital but was declared dead on arrival.
Investigation revealed that the suspects were also the ones behind the demise of Allen Muller who was shot dead minutes earlier than Delfin. Witnesses of Muller’s shooting incident said that they saw a gray Adventure that stopped by near him followed by sound of series of gunshots.
Verification from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) revealed the registered owner of the gray Adventure with plate number ABQ7754, who later averred that they have not been in possession of the car since January 2020 as they entered into rent-a-car business agreement with PAPO Car Rental.
In the CCTV footage on the crime scene of Muller, it appeared that there were four individuals inside the Mitsubishi Adventure.
In Delfin’s crime scene, witnesses saw two armed men standing near the Adventure, shooting at Delfin.
The owner of the PAPO Car Rental stated in his sworn statement that subject JOVEN, a police officer, rented the Adventure for two days or until January 20, 2020. The next day, the owner of the car rental was surprised when Joven asked to meet with him and during their meeting, suspect Joven confessed that the Adventure he rented was used by his group as their get-away vehicle in killing Muller and Delfin.
Joven admitted that he was the driver of the group. Further, Joven said that after killing Muller, they stopped at a vacant lot in Nabitasan, La Paz to strip off the white stickers from the Adventure. Del saw and confronted them so they shot Del to death.
Joven also asked the owner of the car rental to pin one Osting Del Pilar, a drug-related target of their group, in case an investigation about the death of Muller and Del would ensue.
Suspect PCpl. Jerry Villanueva was positively identified by one witness, a part-time taxi driver and security guard.
Theft was also committed as Del’s mobile phone was not recovered from him.
According to Delfin’s wife, he had temper for traffic violators and does not hesitate to take photographs or videos of such and post them on social media. With this, suspects may have assumed that Delfin reported their activities to authorities when he made a call or that he took photos or videos of them. Hence, after inflicting several fatal wounds at Delfin, they took his mobile phone without his consent.
As one witness also stated, he noticed that one of the shooters was trying to get something from the road after firing several shots.
With the filing of the charges, the Britanico and Lao families said that this is a welcome milestone in the case of Delfin.
The families said that they continue to trust that the law enforcement agencies will be able to identify and catch all involved in the gruesome crime and swiftly bring them all to justice. /Stacy Ang