MANILA -- Double murder charges will be filed against the suspected killer of newspaper columnist Jupiter Gonzales and his companion in Arayat, Pampanga, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said on Thursday.
PCOO chief Martin Andanar, co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), bared that authorities have already identified the suspected killer as Armando Maglaya Velasco.
Velasco reportedly works as a public relations man of a peryahan (local carnival) operating in Barangay Cacutud in Arayat, he said.
Andanar, citing a report from PTFoMS Executive Director Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, said the gunman had initially sent surrender feelers through his wife.
On Sunday night, Gonzales, a columnist for the tabloid Remate, and Christopher Tiongson were shot inside their car apparently over a feud involving the perya operation.
A closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) captured the incident, showing how Tiongson was shot first and died instantly while Gonzales managed to drive for about 50 meters before hitting a plant box.
Gonzales was declared dead at a local hospital.
The CCTV footage helped authorities immediately establish the identity of the gunman.
Earlier, Egco said the victims knew the suspect since the latter was seen casually entering the victims' car through the left backdoor.
"Our investigation showed that Gonzales knew his killer. In fact, the gunman first boarded the left backseat of the victim’s car and presumably spoke with the victims,” Egco said.
“A CCTV footage shows that the gunman stepped out of the vehicle after about four minutes and opened the driver’s side in an apparent attempt to commandeer the vehicle. However, Gonzales was still able to drive 50 meters away until he hit a flowerbox," he added.
Andanar, meanwhile, lauded the PTFoMS and the police for their quick action over the twin killings.
“This proves that this administration will stop at nothing to hold perpetrators of violence against media workers to account. They can run and hide but the long arm of the law will eventually catch up on them," he said. (PNA)