Ex-army member to stand trial for ‘involvement’ in lawyer Wee’s murder

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RETIRED army official Edwin Layese will face trial for his alleged participation in the murder of lawyer Joey Luis Wee either as mastermind or contractor.

This, after the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor found enough evidence to charge Layese with murder, a non-bailable offense.

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 Director Rennan Augustus Oliva, a lawyer, described Layese’s indictment as a “very good” development.

Layese was arrested by NBI 7 agents in Cebu City on Jan. 13, 2021. Fausto Edgar Peralta, the alleged triggerman in the killing of Wee, ratted out Layese’s identity to the investigators.

Oliva said he received a copy of Layese’s charge sheet dated Jan. 29, 2021, on Monday afternoon, Feb. 1.

In its resolution, the Office of the City Prosecutor states that Layese, “with deliberate intent, with intent to kill, with treachery, and evident premeditation, conniving, confederating and mutually helping other accused did then and there act as the mastermind and/or contractor in the attack” upon Wee.

Petition denied

Oliva said Layese’s camp lodged a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which, if granted, compels a government agency to produce a detainee before the court, which then determines the legality of the person’s detention.

However, the petition was denied by the court, Oliva said.

Layese, a former director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Western Visayas and a former member of the Philippine Army, was transferred from the NBI 7 to the Cebu City Jail in Barangay Kalunasan last Jan. 27.

Evidence

Aside from Peralta’s confession, the NBI 7 secured footage that shows Layese’s presence at the crime scene on Nov. 23, 2020.

Peralta had been arrested before Layese was caught.

The NBI 7 said there was no update yet from the court whether Peralta could be admitted to the government’s witness protection program.

Peralta issued an extrajudicial confession with the assistance of two lawyers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City Chapter.

He admitted shooting Wee twice along J. Panis St. in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City, and he also identified a certain John Raymond Suarez as his backup and the one who contacted him; a certain Randy Palparan was Suarez’s contact while Layese was Palparan’s direct contact. (WBS)