By Maria Elena Catajan
BANGUED, Abra — A 12–year case has finally drawn to a close.
Police arrested, Ruben Barcena Bobila, suspected killer of former Tineg mayor Clarence Benwaren at his home in Barangay Lenneng, Baay-Licuan town.
Abra police director Virgilio Laya said Bobila is tagged as the fourth most wanted person in the Cordillera after the death of Benwaren in October 2002.
“Hindi sa lahat ng panahon ay makakapag tago sila [those wanted for crimes], mabibigyan at mabibigyan natin ng hustisya ang mga tao,” Laya said.
Laya said the arrest of Bobila is the result of a long operation since the time of former provincial director Bemjamin Lusad who tried but failed to arrest the suspect twice.
“Talagang mahirap siyang hulihin,” he added.
Laya said Bobila is elusive as he is protected by family and friends in the area. The arrest made on June 11, Wednesday, was the third attempt by operatives to capture the suspect.
Laya said Abra police showed patience and keen observation skills when they searched the home of Bobila. His wife has again denied his presence in the area and as the police team was about to pullout from the search, one cop noticed movement in the top area of the house.
The police team then proceeded to search the house anew, revealing Bobila, who was hiding near the roof.
“Tiyaga ito ng ating kapulisan,” Laya said.
The 35-year-old chief executive was murdered right inside the church during a wedding ceremony in Calamba town in Laguna twelve years ago, where he stood as principal sponsor.
Benwaren’s killer came from behind while he was signing the marriage contract inside the church and shot him with a caliber .45 automatic in the right temple.
Benwaren was pronounced dead on arrival at the San Pablo Community Hospital in San Pablo City.
Judge Antonio Eugenio Jr. of the RTC Branch 34, Calamba City issued his warrant of arrest for murder recommending no chance to post bail.
It was not known, however, from the Abra police who ordered Bobila to kill Benwaren neither was Bobila a member of a private armed group.
“Hanggang ngayon ay tikom ang bibig niya, wala siyang sinasabi or inaamin,” Laya said.
Laya said to this day there is no known mastermind for the killing of Benwaren until Bobila confesses to everything, making the 12-year case, still a mystery.
Bobila is now detained in Abra.