Suspect in Ombudsman prosecutor's death nabbed

 

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 5) — A day after a special task force was created to probe the death of another prosecutor, the main suspect in her killing is now under police custody.

Angelito Avenido Jr., a 31-year-old jeepney barker, was arrested in a hot pursuit operation Monday by Quezon City Police and the Philippine National Police's (PNP) Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. He was presented to the media on Tuesday.    

Avenido is facing criminal complaints of robbery and homicide related to the death of Assistant Special Prosecutor Madonna Joy Ednaco-Tanyag, who worked under the Office of the Ombudsman.

Avenido had two of Tanyag's identification cards, cash worth ₱9,000, two purses, and a mobile phone.

In a video after his presentation to the media, Avenido admitted to the crime, but claimed it was an accident he killed Tanyag when he was trying to steal her wallet.

"Aksidente 'yun, aksidente [It was an accident.]," he said.

When asked if he had anything to say to Tanyag's family, Avenido said: "Sana mapatawad nila ako. [I hope they forgive me.]"

Cris Tanyag, the husband of the victim, was pleased with Avenido's arrest.

"Nagpapasalamat po ako sa kapulungan ng PNP, napatunayan po na sila ay mahusay na ahensya ng gobyerno dahil within less than eight hours, na-apprehend na po kaagad ang suspek," the husband said.

[Translation: I thank the PNP team. They proved to be an efficient government agency, because within less than eight hours, the suspect has been apprehended.]

Reports earlier said Tanyag was stabbed around 11:20 a.m. Monday in Barangay. Vasra, Quezon City. Tanyag, who sustained three stab wounds, was declared dead around 12:04 p.m.

"At kung nabubuhay pa ang aking asawa, sasabihin niya po na naniniwala pa rin po siya sa ating batas at hustisya. At ang hinihiling niya po ay mabilis na hustisya," Tanyag's husband said.

[Translation: If my wife were still alive, she will say that she still believes in our law and our justice system. And all we wish for is swift justice.]

Tanyag was five months pregnant when she was killed.

Quezon City Police Chief Joselito Esquivel said Avenido's crime was a "lone attack." However, Esquivel said the probe on Tanyag's death will continue, to see if the attack is work-related.

"This is just one angle that resulted into the arrest," Esquivel said.

In a separate interview with CNN Philippines Tuesday, Esquivel said, "As it is, it is said already – random violence, robbery with homicide...But, I have created a special investigation task group. It is mandated to do its function to the full."

 

He added a full report would be given to him, looking at all angles, and that the investigation would not stop with the arrest of the suspect.

Esquivel said it could be possible there was a mastermind behind the crime, or if there is none, it must be made certain as well.

Tanyag's death is the ninth in the slew of armed attacks against prosecutors since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in June 2016. Only one, Surigao City Prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna Jr., survived — but he was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Positive for drug use

When Avenido was presented to the media, PNP Chief PDir. Oscar Albayalde said the suspect tested positive for the use of illegal drugs. Police records said Avenido was jailed for more than 10 years for a drug case in General Santos City and was just released last February.

"Lumalabas itong suspek is a problem child since bata pa. Problema na nila sa kanilang pamilya, at lulong na lulong sa droga," Albayalde said.

[Translation: It appears the suspect is a problem child from the get-go, a problem of the family and a drug addict.]

However, the suspect was not included in the PNP's list of drug users, as he only returned to Manila on March 30.

Albayalde added the police are looking into Avenido's involvement in a stabbing incident in General Santos City in South Cotabato, his hometown.

The PNP Chief added Avenido is facing complaints of physical abuse from his live-in partner in Brgy. Culiat.

CNN Philippines' Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.