Sunday, 19 August 2012 00:00
Almost five months call for justice
Nearly five months after the murder of Arturo “Archie” Eustaquio, the chief executive officer of the Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ), formerly known as the Zamboanga A. E. Colleges (ZAEC), the city police are yet to make any headway in the investigation.
“That is still under investigation. It seems that the police, we do not have lead on that unless somebody comes out and give us information,” said Sr. Supt. James Mejia, the OIC chief of the Zamboanga City Police Office (ZPOC), in an interview recently with “Cuentas Claras” Congressman Erbie Fabian.
Eustaquio was shot dead by gunmen riding on two separate motorcycles when he came out of the compound of his residence driving a motorcycle in Barangay Sta. Maria on the afternoon of April 1, 2012, Sunday.
Authorities especially the Task Group Archie created under erstwhile Chief Supt. Mario Yanga are working on all possible motives including love triangle, corporate problem, business deals and purchased properties, said to be populated with illegal settlers in Pagadian.
But the police are still groping in the dark for a breakthrough despite these information because no one will stand as witness, although there were reports that of the many persons who saw the killing that took place at past noon, only one volunteered to give information to investigators particularly on the motorcycle that was used by the killers.
Mejia reiterated they do not have any lead as yet. “We have no lead relative to the motive, relative to the suspects, relative to identity of the suspects...wala pa po...wala pa talaga.”
The OIC city police director, however, said that probably they can find later on matches based from physical evidence collected at the crime through scientific inquiry.
It can be recalled that few days after the murder of Archie, investigators said the ballistic test of the physical evidence gathered in the Guiwan shootout did not match the pieces of evidence gathered at Maestra Vicenta, Sta. Maria, where Eustaquio was gunned down.
Authorities had earlier revealed to newsmen an information they gathered from the Eustaquio family particularly the threat that was received nine days before Eustaquio was gunned down.
It was learned from the source that Archie’s sister, Atty. Linda Eustaquio-Lim, received a phone call last March 23, 2012 threatening her and her brother Archie.
Also some people speculated that Archie’s murder was allegedly caused from a conflict between him and an individual of high status who allegedly opposed the latter’s plan to construct a mosque in the city, particularly at Eustaquio’s property.
Archie was buried at UZ’s College of Agriculture in Barangay Pasonanca in accordance with Islamic tradition. He was one of the former Christians in Zamboanga City who reverted to Islam. He was baptized “Ammar”, a name of one of the companions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and performed Hajj (pilgrim) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The Eustaquio family and UZ have been seeking justice for Archie’s death. They said while there is no justice to his death, the toll on Zamboanga City’s gunshot victims since January 1, 2012 continues to rise and the proliferation of firearms in the city remains.
UZ installed a public bulletin board located on its City Campus fronting the City Hall with the information on the number of gunshot victims, which reached now to 119.
Mayor Celso Lobregat criticized the school for the tarpaulin display, saying that UZ should not display the scoreboard as this is shameful to visiting public.
He attributed the failure to solve some gunshot cases to uncooperative witnesses and said many witnesses backtracked on their testimonies for fear of their lives.
But symphatizers of the Eustaquio family defended the display of tarpaulin, stressing that it reflects the feeling of each and every disheartened Zamboangueños on how slow the justice system is in the city.
According to the comment from one of the thousands of readers of Zamboanga Today posted on its official website, the decision to put up the tarpaulin is not a decision made by one person, but is a collective sentiment of all really concerned citizens.
“The problem with the people in authority is that they wish to turn the other cheek every time they see this sign. I hope more businesses and buildings will follow suit as they cannot blame people from being apathetic if they (City Hall) themselves dwell in apathy up to this very day,” the comment further stated.
By Hader Glang
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