P4-MILLION LOAN REFUSAL LED TO LOTTO SLAY
MANILA, November 6, 2002
By Non Alquitran - Refusal to lend P400,000 to his cousin led
to the death of lotto winner Arturo Eufemia, police reported yesterday.
Mayorico Guatno, 50, a cousin and neighbor of Eufemia, was the 11th suspect arrested for the robbery-slaying of Eufemia, 58, said Antipolo police chief Superintendent Jose Dayco.
Guatno was picked up by police in his house at Nazareneville Subdivision in Barangay San Roque after midnight Monday. He was charged with robbery with homicide before the Antipolo City prosecutor’s office yesterday.
No bail was recommended for Guatno by assistant City Prosecutor Mario Luna. Police said Guatno chose to remain silent on the charges against him.
Ten suspects have been apprehended so far. They are Samuel Guiba, 40; Lito Abarico, 43; Joselito Rose, 39; Luisito Candoy, 31; Aurelio Omega, 31; Eric Peñalosa, 24; Noel Pinioso, 30; Francisco Aregue, 26; Rolando Velasco, 36; and Renato Resanoda, 23. Two other suspects — identified only as Bert and Andy — remained at large.
Dayco said Guatno’s name surfaced during the tactical interrogation of the 10 suspects, who were rounded up in separate operations Wednesday last week.
Police investigation showed that Guatno had asked Eufemia and his wife for a loan of P400,000 to buy a family van but was turned down. Because of his failure to get the loan, Dayco said Guatno told the other suspects that Eufemia won P19.6 million in the Oct. 12 lotto draw.
At 1 a.m. on Oct. 28, Guatno acted as one of the lookouts while six of the suspects followed Eufemia into his house and shot him dead after a drinking spree with friends and neighbors, Dayco said.
The suspects escaped on board a beige Toyota Grandia worth P1.3 million recently bought by Eufemia. The vehicle was recovered in Guiba’s house, covered with blankets and sheets of galvanized iron.
Guatno’s arrest cleared Eufemia’s son Renan, 31, of culpability in his father’s slaying, Dayco said.
Earlier, Aregue claimed they learned about Eufemia’s lotto winnings from Renan, who is gay and was in a relationship with Andy. At first, Aregue said, Renan handed Andy small amounts of money but later on Renan was seen carrying a thick wad of peso bills.
It was Renan who invited Andy to Eufemia’s 58th birthday party, where Andy learned about the family’s lotto winnings, Aregue said.
Dayco, however, dismissed Aregue’s claims, saying it was meant to muddle the case and lead to the suspects’ acquittal.
"Pilit nilang idinadawit si Renan sa kaso para puwersahin ang pamilya ng biktima na iurong ang kaso dahil madadamay ang anak nila (They want to implicate Renan so the family will be forced to withdraw the charges)," Dayco said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) cautioned past and would-be lotto and sweepstakes winners to be discreet about their winnings in the wake of Eufemia’s slaying.
"Take time in using your money. Put that wealth in a bank while thinking of a business plan," PCSO chairman Honeygirl Singson-de Leon said.
She added that "it is unfortunate that the PCSO is dragged into (the Antipolo slaying)." She refused to confirm news reports that the Eufemias won in the Oct. 12 draw.
"All I can say is that the winner is a woman," she said, reiterating her agency’s policy of not divulging the identities of sweepstakes and lotto winners.
De Leon noted that the PCSO is concerned with the safety of the winners, who may be vulnerable to robbery, kidnapping, and murder if their identities are divulged.
Meanwhile, De Leon said that starting next month new features will be introduced to make the sweepstakes game more attractive.
The "Talo Na, Panalo Pa" features a cash prize of P5 million for the winner and a chance to win a brand new car for losing ticket buyers.
The losing ticket holders are supposed to send tickets bearing their signature at the back of the ticket to PCSO. These tickets will be included in a monthly raffle draw, with the winner receiving a new BMW.
Another feature, according to De Leon, is that there will be only one winner in the sweepstakes game; the "sharing system" will be discarded. The old practice had six to 10 winners – those with tickets bearing the same numbers – sharing the top prize.
De Leon said lotto revenues have risen since ticket sales reached a "plateau" during the Estrada administration. One of the points she claimed she focused on is the adoption of an efficient promotion and marketing scheme, which she said paid off.
She is encouraging the public to continue patronizing PCSO’s products – lotto and sweepstakes – because with each ticket they buy, they help in the government’s charity projects for indigent countrymen. Thirty percent of ticket sales from the two games are allocated for the charity fund. — With Teddy Molina
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
© Copyright, 2002
by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
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PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE