Ex-PDEA director nabbed over Cebu lawyer killing

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 19) — A former regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency was arrested for allegedly "supervising" the murder of a lawyer in Cebu City last November 2020.

National Bureau of Investigation-7 Regional Director Renan Oliva said on Monday's briefing that they have arrested retired Army Col. Edwin Layese on January 12 over the death of lawyer Joey Luis Wee who was gunned down near his office,

Oliva said Layese was not the mastermind, but did the planning and execution of the killing.

“We have documentary, electronic and testimonial evidence to show that Edwin Layese was involved not just a participant but a supervisor in the killing of Wee,” Oliva explained.

He added that Layese may also be involved in the ambush of another lawyer last October.

“We have arrested him in connection of the murder of Joey Wee and in the frustrated murder of James Gupana,” said Oliva.

According to Oliva. Layese is a member of the Philippine Military Academy batch 1994 “Bantay Laya” and served as PDEA regional director Western Visayas aside from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The retired army official is also a former security manager of the Cebu Holdings Inc. and Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp.

Oliva said that they are still trying to identify the mastermind as Layese and his group are hired killers.

Murder charges and illegal possession of firearms were filed against Layese at Cebu City Prosecutor's Office last week.

The NBI-7 said that ex-military man Fausto Edgar Peralta, who was arrested last December 8 in Laguna province, identified Layese as the one who hired them to kill Wee.

The amount paid was in six digits but Oliva refused to divulge the exact amount.

NBI-7 operatives arrested Layese last week as he was about to board his pick-up truck near Fuente Osmeña Circle in Cebu City.

Oliva said the pick-up truck was subject to a search warrant as it was a vehicle spotted in near the crime scene where Wee was killed.

The NBI-7 are still looking for four other suspects in the Wee murder following the arrest of Layese and Peralta.

Wee is just one of the lawyers that were killed in Cebu City.

Last November 23, Wee was killed by at least two gunmen as he was walking toward his office in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City.

Meanwhile, lawyer Gupana survived an ambush after he was shot by motorcycle-riding men along Barangay Pajac, Lapu-Lapu City last October 10, 2020.

Lady lawyer Baby Maria Concepcion Landero-Ole was also killed by unidentified gunmen last December 17 in Danao City, Cebu. Her case is still unresolved.

Landero-Ole is the widow of Juanito Flores Ole, an alleged drug lord and ex-convict who was shot dead May 2020.