By Artemio A. Dumlao
SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – State prosecutors in Abra are being asked to be removed from the multiple murder cases against La Paz town mayor Joseph Bernos and his father –Danglas vice mayor Andres Bernos.
The National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera on Tuesday noon asked the Regional State Prosecutor here to order the Abra provincial prosecutor’s recusal from the case, citing the latter’s “snail-paced” action.
Abra prosecutors have been accused of “sitting on” the statement of elf-confessed Abra assassin Jacobo Badua, delaying justice for at least three killings linked to the influential Bernos clan in the province.
Up to now, Abra provincial fiscal Nestor Tolentino, who has kept mum, has not assigned any investigating fiscal to conduct a preliminary investigation on the multiple murder suit filed on July 19, said NBI-Cordillera special investigator III Abner Dotimas.
“(We) feel that the NBI could not obtain a fair and impartial resolution of the case,” said Dotimas.
Badua narrated to the NBI how he was ordered to kill at least two villagers and saw how another assassin gunned down another, all upon orders of Mayor Bernos and vice mayor Bernos.
Badua’s family members have fled Abra.
“Worrisome Web Of Influence And Power”
Badua’s wife Loida is a public school teacher in Danglas town, where Mayor Bernos’ mother and Vice Mayor’s wife– Esther– is the town mayor.
Vice-mayor Bernos is the father of slain La Paz mayor Marc Ysrael, husband of incumbent Abra Rep. Ma Jocelyn Bernos. Ysrael was gunned down right in their hometown in 2006.
Rep. Bernos though has remained silent on the issue. Her father Bangued town mayor Dominic Valera, has also not addressed the issue.
Mayor Valera and the Bernoses are Liberal Party members. Pidigan town Mayor Jannsen Valera is also a member of LP.
Vice Mayor Bernos was Abra vice governor from 1984-86, then became a governor by succession. He was also mayor of La Paz and Danglas for four decades.
The Bernoses however said Badua’s allegations were all fabricated to get back at them because of the whistle blower’s political losses, among other things. According to Mayor Bernos, Badua is facing a murder charge and other criminal cases in the past. (Philstar.com)