A cry for help

Are you a reporter who cover Raul Gonzales or his office? Or do you know any reporter who covers him or his office?

If you are any of the two, please help us clarify with him the accusations of one of my blog readers, Joji Rojas, that Justice Raul Gonzales is sleeping on the murder case of Ramon Rojas, Vice Mayor of Ajuy, Iloilo, who was shot dead on May 22, 2008.

Vice Mayor Ramon Rojas was shot dead by a team of two assassins (allegedly Dennis “Totong” Cartagena and Edgar Cordero) who were riding a motor cycle. His murder would have reached its dead end had it not been for what happened on August 29, 2008 at around 7:30 PM in Butuan City.

On August 29, 2008, Cartagena and Cordero were ambushed where Cordero died while Cartagena survived and reported to the police. Cartagena introduced himself as DJ Herrera while Cordero as Dave Panisales. The Butuan City police discovered their real identity and a pending warrant of arrest against them for the murder of the Vice Mayor of Ajuy, Iloilo, Ramon Rojas.

Cartagena was arrested and brought back to Iloilo City where he revealed all he know about the murder of Ramon Rojas.

In his 6-page affidavit written in Hiligaynon, Cartagena said they shot Rojas to death “because we were paid by Vicente ‘Etik’ Espinosa alias ‘Bulldog’ of Brgy. Lanjagan, Ajuy, Iloilo.” Cartagena said he was a former bodyguard of Espinosa from April to May 2007 elections along with Rey Peña and Lindsey Buenavista. Right after the May 2007 elections, Cartagena said Espinosa has been plotting to kill Rojas. Aside from the vice mayor, the assassination plot also included provincial board member Jett Rojas, Ajuy Mayor Juancho Alvarez, Councilors Pepe Dumayao and Pepe Baterna and Punong Barangay Ronnie “Calis” Bañas. The plot was finalized April 2008 when Buenavista presented Cartagena to Espinosa at the latter’s house in Brgy. Lanjagan. “We met Vicente ‘Etik’ Espinosa and he told me and Buenavista that we will kill vice mayor Ramon Rojas and he gave us P8,000 for our allowance and surveillance expenses,” Cartagena said. For several days, Cartagena and Cordero monitored Rojas’s movements.

The hit happened around 5:30am of May 22 while Rojas was jogging on the highway at Brgy. Central. “When we reached Sitio Casamata which is sparsely populated, we drove near vice mayor Rojas and Edgar Cordero quickly shot him twice. Cordero then alighted from the motorcycle then chased and shot Rojas who was running towards the mahogany plantation. Then I saw Rojas fall to the ground but Cordero went near and repeatedly shot him,” Cartagena said. The duo then fled and proceeded to Barotac Viejo. They later learned from the radio that Rojas was dead.

The following day, May 23 at around 7am, Buenavista brought Cartagena and Cordero to Espinosa’s house at Ledesco Village, LaPaz, Iloilo to get P50,000. Cartagena said Buenavista received the money from Espinosa before going to the Muelle Loney port to buy ship tickets to Bacolod City. But when they arrived at the pier, Espinosa’s driver identified only as Pakit handed the tickets to Buenavista. Pakit then invited them to his house where Espinosa called Buenavista’s cellphone informing them that another P100,000 will be given to them. They returned to Espinosa’s house with Buenavista receiving the money. Pakit then brought the trio back to the Muelle Loney port where they divided the P100,000 cash. Cartagena said he only got P30,000.

From Iloilo, they proceeded to Bacolod City where they rode a bus bound for Cebu. From Cebu, they boarded a Cokaliong ship to Surigao City. Buenavista then brought Cartagena and Cordero to his uncle Joe Bahadi in Dinagat Island before returning to Iloilo. Bahadi brought the two suspects to Butuan City where Cordero was shot dead allegedly by Buenavista.

The family of Ramon Rojas, where Joji must belong, cries foul because despite the testimony of the Cartagena, the case against the principal suspect was dismissed. The case has been “resubmitted to the DOJ” but, Joji claims, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales is sitting on the case.

Paragraphs in italics come from Francis Allan L. Angelo’s “We were paid to kill Rojas”.

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