Philippine Daily Inquirer, Feb. 22, 2006

DoJ drops case vs Dingalan mayor
over journalist's death
By Tetch Torres

THE DEPARTMENT of Justice (DoJ) has dismissed for lack of evidence a case against a town mayor in Aurora province for murder of a journalist last year, according to a resolution issued by the DoJ.

The department instead recommended that the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police investigate further the "possible" role of Dingalan Mayor Jaime Ylarde in the death of Philip Agustin but would pursue the case against three others, Senior State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco said in the three-page document.

"There is not enough evidence to establish whether or not Mayor Ylarde is involved in the killing of Agustin," Velasco said.

Velasco said the DoJ set aside the testimony of Roseville Cruz, Agustin's daughter who claimed that since her father started to expose the alleged anomalous activities of Ylarde, unidentified men started to roam the vicinity of their house.

In its resolution, the DoJ said Agustin's exposure of the mayor's alleged questionable activities was not enough to establish his involvement in the killing.

Velasco said they would file a case against Reynaldo Morete, Nilo Morete, and Manuel Alday for the alleged murder of Agustin, publisher of the Starline Times Recorder, inside his house at Sitio (sub-village) Mulawin, Barangay (village) Paltic, Dingalan on May 10, 2005.

Velasco said the case would be filed before the regional trial court in Aurora.

Only Morete is in the custody of the authorities while the two other accused are at large.

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