Who’s the mastermind? Investigation still ongoing, says ICPO

Rey Julius “Tata” de los Reyes, and his brother, Roy de los Reyes

What is next after the arrest of the alleged killers of Mercedes “Gingging” Nava”?

Senior Supt. Martin Defensor Jr., Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) director, said the investigation is still ongoing to determine the mastermind in Nava’s slay.

Nava was shot repeatedly while she was driving a black Mitsubishi Strada pick-up in Barangay Calajunan, Mandurriao district on Jan. 4.

Two days after the incident, Jan 7, authorities arrested Rey Julius “Tata” de los Reyes, 34, and his brother, Roy de los Reyes, 43 in a “hot pursuit operation.”

The two, according to Defensor, were positively identified by witnesses.

The suspects are bodyguards of Councilor Plaridel Nava, the estranged cousin of Mercedes.

Ang isa nadakpan naton sa opisina ni Councilor Nava and ang isa sa idalum sa City Hall,” Defensor said.

Recovered from the suspects were three unlicensed .45-caliber pistols, four magazines, 36 bullets, a hand grenade, two mobile phones, and P13, 770 in cash.

The two bodyguards are now detained at the Mandurriao Police Station lock-up cell while cases are being readied against them.

Defensor refused to answer directly when asked if the councilor is among those being investigated.

Nagtawag ako kay RD (refering Regional Director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao of Police Regional Office-Western Visayas) nangayo ako bulig sa iya. Siling niya pakadtuon ko sa imo ang abogado para malamin natin kung anong meron tayo kay Councilor Nava,” he told reporters.

In a media interview Monday afternoon, Plaridel insisted anew that he is not the mastermind and his bodyguards have no involvement in the killing of Mercedes.

Indi kami malagyo, indi kami manalaw kay ara kami sa husto.Atubangon namon ni sa korte. This is part of the scheme to destroy us,” the councilor said.

Mabato kami kay wala kami sang sala,” he said.

Plaridel claimed that the bomb, firearms, bullets, and magazines were “planted” by the police.

Paano ka makasulod sa City Hall nga may pusil kag granada? Tan-awon ta ang CCTV sa City Hall kay pagsulod namon wala kami dala tapos gulpi lang may pusil na kag granada?”

In his Facebook post, Plaridel described the arrest as “scripted.”

“Surprisingly, the ICPO has agreed to become one of the scriptwriters and directors,” he said.

In a report by radio station RMN-Iloilo, Nava shared that his arrested bodyguards were “forced” by police to admit the crime and name him as the mastermind.

Before Mercedes died, she divulged that all of the signatures in petitions filed against Panay Electric Co. (PECO) before Congress were forged.

PECO is Iloilo City’s sole power distributor. Its franchise is set to expire this month.

Mercedes accused Councilors Joshua Alim and Plaridel, Dr. Marigold Gonzales, daughter of Pacita Gonzalez, and Presidential Consultant for Western Visayas Jane Javellana of ordering them to gather fake signatures.

Alim, Nava, Gonzalez, and Javellana denied the allegations.IMT