“I am nobody’s puppet.”
This was the reaction of Atty. Erfe del Castillo to accusations by a leader of an anti-crime group that somebody is behind her in the filing of cases related to her ambush.
Del Castillo called the statements of John Chiong, national commander of Task Force Kasanag (TFK) as “unfounded speculations.”
Chiong, questioned the case filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against 11 suspects alleged by Del Castillo as having conspired to kill her in an ambush on December 21, 2018 that resulted in the death of her fiance Efren Palmares Jr.
The NBI filed murder and frustrated murder charges at the Talisay City Prosecutor’s Office against three police officials, two non-commissioned police officers, a businesswoman, a lawyer, two civilians, a media practitioner, and unidentified persons.
Del Castillo and boyfriend Palmares, a former policeman, were bound for Bacolod from the Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City on board a Porsche car when armed men peppered them with bullets around 10:45 p.m. on Dec. 21 at the airport access road in Barangay Matab-ang, Talisay, a police report showed.
The shooting led to Palmares’ death. It also left del Castillo injured.
According to the police, the suspects were riding a sports utility vehicle when they ambushed them. Chiong claimed that the NBI did not follow the “correct process” when it filed the cases.
“As far as I know they did not follow the proper procedures, unless the procedures were changed,” Chiong told newsmen.
He said the NBI should have faced the media and not the complainant, and that the complaint should have been filed with local NBI based on jurisdiction and not at the regional NBI office.
Chiong said he will bring the matter to the main NBI office in Manila.
Del Castillo, in a statement sent the media yesterday said, “John Chiong is not a lawyer. He should not comment on matters he knows nothing about. In the first place, why is he so affected?”
“For his information, all his questions regarding the NBI are very elementary,” she said.
“First, it is discretionary with the NBI if it will still subpoena the respondents. It is not mandatory for the NBI to subpoena the subjects of the complaint. Second, it is the right of the complainant (me) to choose where to file the complaint. In this case, Bacolod City is part of NBI WEVRO. I can even file a complaint with the NBI in Manila,” she said.
“This matter is best left to the lawyers. Not with persons who are only speculating about what should be and should not be done. It is embarrassing that you are showing to the people your lack of knowledge and claim to know it all,” del Castillo advised Chiong.* (NDB, photo by Teresa Ellera, SSB)