A key government witness in the killing of car traders Venson Evangelista, Emerson Lozano and driver Ernanie Sencil was found dead in Dasmarinas City last Sunday (May 6).
The body of Mendiola was found tied and gagged along with two others at around 6 a.m. in Sta. Lucia proper, Brgy. Salawag. Mendiola has tagged Dominguez’ brothers Raymond and Roger in the killings.
Last Tuesday, police recovered the vehicle used in Mendiola’s murder. The Toyota Grandia (TBO-299) was abandoned along Roxas Boulevard in front of RAF Mansion in Baclaran.
Police found an empty shell for an unknown bullet and some packaging tape inside the vehicle. The vehicle is registered under the name of a Rommel Dela Cruz of Seamans St., Sitio Silangan, Look 2nd in Malolos, Bulacan.
Despite the killing of Mendiola, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the Department of Justice can still secure the conviction of the Dominguez brothers for carjacking with homicide.
De Lima said Mendiola had already given his testimony and has been cross-examined before the Regional Trial Court in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, during the hearings on the motion to post bail by the Dominguez brothers.
She said the prosecution will likely adopt Mendiola’s testimonies during the bail hearings in the presentation of prosecution’s evidence on the main case.
According to De Lima, Mendiola has been violating rules governing individuals under the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
De Lima said Mendiola refused to be provided with 24-hour security. He also repeatedly failed to seek permission from WPP officers before leaving his safe house.
The WPP allows witnesses to move around without security provided they would always inform the authorities of their whereabouts.