(UPDATE 4 – 10:07 a.m.) A paralyzed septuagenarian, who allegedly killed his own cousin — a judge in Camarines Sur — has surrendered to the police.
The suspected killer of Judge Ricky Begino, identified as 72-year-old Wilfredo Armea, voluntarily surrendered to authorities Wednesday morning at his friend’s residence in Presentacion and was placed under police custody, dzRH’s Ruel Saldico reported before 10 a.m.
A person close to the slain judge earlier claimed that the person behind the magistrate’s slay was his own relative, which authorities later confirmed.
In an interview with dzRH’s Cesar Chavez earlier in the day, lawyer Henry Briguerra, a friend of Begino, said he knew the victim “very well” and that “so far, the information I received…was that the person who had killed him was also their relative (kamag-anak din nila).”
Begino, presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Court of the towns of San Jose, Lagonoy, and Presentacion was shot on Tuesday, June 12, at about 5 p.m. while the victim was sitting in front of his residence at Zone 3 in Brgy. Sta. Maria, Presentacion.
Begino was shot in the nape and the bullet went through his body. He was rushed to a hospital in Naga City after the incident but died at about 8:40 p.m. the same day.
“Nakikiramay ako sa pamilya. Sayang ang masipag na judge. Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit nagkaroon ng ganitong problema. Sana’y ‘wag nang maulit ito sa ibang judges [I condole with the family, The hardworking judge was a loss. I can’t understand why this kind of problem cropped up. I hope that this won’t happen to other judges],” said Briguerra.
The suspected killer allegedly gunned down Begino after the latter reportedly stood between Armea and the latter’s foe. There were also reports that Armea was prompted to shoot his own cousin because of a land conflict they failed to settle.
Meanwhile, in an interview with dzRH’s Deo Macalma Wednesday morning. Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said he was “saddened” by the killing of Begino, whom he said he often saw when the judge was still president of the Philippine Trial Judges League.
“Talagang dinadala n’ya (Begino) sa ating tanggapan ang mga concerns ng judges kaya medyo napalapit tayo d’yan [He brought to my office the concerns of judges and that’s why I got close to him],” said Marquez during an interview with dzRH’s Deo Macalama and Cherryl Adami-Molina.
While Marquez said that his office and the Supreme Court were doing their best to protect judges, the offices won’t be able to extend full security to all magistrates nationwide. He said it would be up to the judges to arm themselves provided that they would process the papers needed to carry firearms.
“Tungkol sa pag-armas ng mga judges nasa kanila naman ‘yon kung talagang gusto nila at kumportable sila,” he said.