By Artemio A. Dumlao
BAGUIO CITY (August 15, 2013) – Abra state prosecutors were stricken out from handling the multiple murder cases lodged against La Paz town mayor Joseph Sto Nino Bernos and his father, Danglas town vice mayor Andres Bernos.
Acting on a motion for inhibition filed by the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera two weeks ago, the Regional State Prosecutor (RSP) based in San Fernando City in La Union ordered the Abra prosecutors’ office to inhibit itself from “investigating” the murder raps against the Bernoses, who accordingly command a high degree of influence in the province.
The “order” was received at the Abra prosecutors office Tuesday morning and Provincial Prosecutor Noel Tolentino was directed to transmit all records of the case to the RSP who will assign another set of investigating prosecutors.
Such welcome development, said NBI-Cordillera special investigator Abner Dotimas, “will usher in a fair and impartial proceedings”.
This came at the heels of “wide talk” that the NBI, even the RSP, have already been allegedly “paid” by the Bernoses to stall the case, which sent shivers all the more to self-confessed Abra assassin Jacobo Badua who spilled the beans on the father-son murderous rampage.
Badua, who is now under “witness protection” earlier narrated to the NBI how Mayor Bernos and vice mayor Bernos ordered him to kill at least two villagers and seeing how another assassin gunned down another also upon the father-son tandem.
The Bernoses however have dismissed Badua’s confession as fabricated purportedly to get back because of their foes’ political losses including Badua, who according to Mayor Bernos is facing a murder charge, including other cases in the past.
With the Abra fiscals, whom the NBI-Cordillera earlier doubted to be impartial in probing the case, out from the picture, the case can move on to finally arrive at justice considering the situation, Dotimas said.
“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 former 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 has maintained silence on the issue including her father, Bangued town mayor Dominic Valera.
Mayor Valera, like the Bernoses are all Liberal Party members, including Mayor Jannsen Valera, wife of Mayor Valera’s son Domino in Pidigan town.
Vice Mayor Bernos was Abra vice governor from 1984-86, then governor by succession. He was mayor of La Paz and Danglas for four decades. That period came a long list of alleged assassinations leveled against the Bernoses, though most witnesses and victims’ families reportedly did not come out because of fear they might suffer the same fate.***Artemio A. Dumlao***