Police nabs suspect in Laoag lawyer's slay ; murder charges filed
by Cristina Arzadon
Laoag City (16 June) -- The police have filed murder charges against a suspect in the killing of young lawyer Eddie Gregorio.
The suspect Randy Dagdagan, 26, was arrested on Sunday after being identified by an eyewitness as the one who shot and killed Gregorio near his apartment on Friday night.
Dagdagan, a resident of Badoc town, is presently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology here.
Supt. Sterling Blanco, Laoag City police chief, said Dagdagan has been the subject of pursuit operations since Friday after he was identified by a still unnamed witness as behind the shooting.
"We could not yet determine the motive of the killing. We are still working on the case to identify the mastermind," he said.
The police has yet to arrest the other gunman identified as Jose Pepito Cachola, a resident of Ilocos Sur.
Meanwhile, members of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Ilocos Norte are set to lead an indignation rally to condemn Gregorio's murder including the other unsolved crimes in the province.
Lawyer Richard Tumaneng, IBP president, said the rally represents the public's outcry toward the rising number of killings that have targeted lawyers, judges and journalists.
Lawyers in the province have been wearing black arm bands since Monday to show support to their murdered colleague.
The police said Gregorio, 28, sustained two gunshot wounds in the neck and on his right arm from a cal 45 gun. He bore contusions in the head after hitting the ground.
Gregorio was slain along M.H. Del Pilar Street near his apartment by two men with hooded jackets on board a motorcycle.
The area where he was slain is a business district where a hotel, a diner and a fastfood chain stand.
Gregorio, who had been practicing law for nearly three years, was still alive when he was taken to the Gov. Roque Ablan Sr. Memorial Hospital where he later died.
Lawyer Erme Labayog, the victim's law partner, said Gregorio never intimated that his life was under any threat.
"He handled mostly land dispute cases. But there was no occasion where he revealed that he was in any trouble that would merit any concern," Labayog said.
Labayog said Gregorio was in his usual cheerful mood when they had dinner with other lawyers on Friday night. He left the group after receiving a message from his mobile phone that he had to meet his client.
Tumaneng said their group will raise an amount as a reward to anyone who could shed light on the killing.
"This is a month of mourning for lawyers. We are saddened by the death of another brother in the profession," Tumaneng said who immediately proceeded with other lawyers at the hospital where Gregorio was taken.
He said individuals who may have an axe to grind against lawyers must play fair instead of resorting to treacherous acts such as killing their victims.
Gregorio's murder brings to eight the number of lawyers in Ilocos Norte who have been assassinated in 11 years.
Tumaneng said all the previous killings remain unsolved.
Born to parents who are farmers, Gregorio is described as an over-achiever having graduated Magna Cum Laude in his pre-law course. He finished law school in 2006 and passed the bar that year.
He finished Summa Cum Laude in his masteral degree and had gone back to school for his doctoral program.
In his blog, Gregorio said it was near impossible to have reached his present status having come from humble beginnings. His father finished third grade while his mother failed to finish high school.
He always wanted to become a lawyer and a doctor as a kid. He wrote that dream on the walls of his room using a charcoal.
He laid down his life struggles and achievements in his blog not to boast "but to tell (everyone) that there is indeed an equal opportunity for every one. No matter who you are, your family status or the educational attainment of your parents."
He would inspire the youth and professionals alike in his speaking engagements. He later founded the Over Achiever Motivational Firm. (PIA) [top]