By Limuel S. Celebria
THE ILOILO City Council today lauded the National Bureau of Investigation for its speedy and conclusive investigation for the twin killing in January of a call center agent and the son of a former Congressman.
IN a resolution authored by City Councilor Ely A. Estante Jr., the council passed unanimously a resolution commending the National Bureau of Investigation and the PNP R6 “for their swift, thorough, and conclusive investigation of the Muller-Britanico twin murder.”
The resolution noted that: “on January 19, 2020, Iloilo City was rocked by reports of a twin-killing happening just minutes apart in two separate places in the city. At around noon of the said date, Filipino-American Alain Muller, a call center employee, was shot dead as he was leaving his house in Cuartero, Jaro. Mere minutes later, Delfin Britanico, son of former Assemblyman and BANAT Partylist Congressman Salvador “Buddy” Britanico, was also shot dead at the foot of the bridge in Nabitasan, Lapaz.”
The Muller killing was said to be drug-related. The victim was among those who voluntarily surrendered in the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and, last year, the victim’s younger brother was also gunned down in yet another killing perpetrated by riding in tandem suspects.
The killing of Delfin Britanico was a puzzle, however. He was never known to be involved in drugs. In an effort to find justice as well as clear the family name from the taint of illegal drugs, the grieving father, respected statesman and legislator, sought the help of the Office of the President which in turn ordered the NBI to look into the case.
The NBI used a fine-tooth comb in its probe. It meticulously reviewed the footages of CCTV cameras along the scenes of the crime and the routes taken by the suspects. Incriminating footages showed scenes of the shooting and the getaway vehicle used – a Mitsubishi Adventure whose owner was also traced. Two of the suspects, both active police corporals, were identified: PCpl. Jerry Villanueva and PCpl. Joseph Andrew Joven.
On May 29, 2020 or exactly 120 days after the crime, the NBI filed murder and theft cases against the two cops and two other accomplices identified only as John Does. The theft case involved Britanico’s cellphone which the suspects took after shooting the victim. Apparently, the suspects feared Britanico to be a witness to their crime and might have taken incriminating photos with his phone.
Estante said the NBI’s “quick and convincing” investigation of the case provides clear proof that the numerous riding-in-tandem killings that have occurred randomly in Iloilo City these past several years shows can be readily solved especially with the numerous available CCTV that are in place all over the city. It will be recalled that Kgd. Estante is also the principal author of the CCTV Ordinance mandating all commercial establishments in the city to install CCTV systems in their premises and vicinity.
The Estante resolution also lauded the PNP Region 6 for its parallel investigation that corroborated the NBI findings. Estante exhorted the PNP to “remain vigilant and continue to purge its ranks of rogues in uniform who continue to taint that good name of the organization.”