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Gordon lauds filing of charges vs suspects in killing of NCMH chief

Sen. Richard J. Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, today hailed the filing of charges against the alleged mastermind and six others in the killing of National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) chief Roland Cortez and his driver Ernesto dela Cruz in Quezon City last July.

Senator Richard Gordon (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

While this is only the first step in the judicial process, the process has already been started and it brought some closure to the case somehow, Gordon said.

Gordon called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to work harder in resolving other murders because the dead can no longer speak and seek justice themselves.

“I am glad that the police worked swiftly on this one. But there are still a lot of unsolved killings in our country today and they should work harder to resolve them,” he said.

The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) tagged a ranking official of the NCMH as mastermind in the killing of Cortez and Dela Cruz. Charges of murder and conspiracy to commit murder have been filed against the mastermind and six other cohorts before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s office.

Charged were former NCMH chief administrative officer Clarita Avila, the alleged mastermind of the crime; Harly Pagarigan, an employee of NCMH who was the alleged gunman; George Serrano, also an NCMH employee who brought the getaway motorcycle near the area where the ambush happened; Albert Eugenio, his live-in partner Ma. Christina Riego de la Cruz; Edison Riego Mitra, nephew of De la Cruz; and Sandy Sandicho.

Of the seven suspects, only Eugenio has been arrested thru warrant of arrest for a separate murder case.

The QCPD said they were able to identify the suspects through the getaway vehicle used by the gunmen and through interviews with NCMH personnel.

Investigators are eyeing Cortez’s fight against corruption inside NCMH as possible motive for the twin murders. In 2019, Cortez reportedly filed a complaint against 14 individuals for graft and malversation after discovering anomalies.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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