Slain Calbayog City, Samar mayor Ronaldo Aquino (File photo)

MANILA – Nine police officers facing criminal charges over the killing of Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino and some of his staff members in March last year have already surrendered to authorities, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said on Wednesday.

In a message to reporters, CIDG spokesperson Lt. Col. Mon Sawan said the nine police officers surrendered to the CIDG’s Detective Special Operations Unit (DSOU) in Camp Crame on Tuesday night.

This came after the Calbayog City, Samar Regional Trial Court Branch 32 issued a warrant of arrest against the suspects on February 14.

Last January 20, the panel of prosecutors conducting the preliminary investigation resolved to file criminal charges in court against Lt. Col. Harry Sucayre, Maj. Shyrile Tan, Capt. Dino Goles, Lt. Julio Armeza Jr., Staff Sgt. Neil Cebu, Staff Sgt. Edsel Omega, Staff Sgt. Randy Merelos, Cpl. Julius Garcia, Pat. Niño Salem and several John Does.

They were charged for the murder of Aquino, his security aide Staff Sgt. Rodeo Sario, driver Dennis Abayon and passerby Clint John Paul Yauder, and for the frustrated murder of another security aide Mansfield Labonite.

In a resolution dated Dec. 15, 2021, a panel of state prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Aquino and his aides were ambushed by the accused police personnel in Labuyao Bridge, Calbayog City on March 8, 2021.

Then Philippine National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Roderick Alba said prior to the DOJ’s decision, four out of the nine respondents were dismissed upon the recommendation of the Internal Affairs Service citing "overwhelming evidence of administrative culpability". (PNA)