MCPO says 2 men, including ex-swimming coach, behind ambush of port lawyer

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TWO men, including a former swimming coach, have been identified as the suspects behind the ambush of Cebu Port Authority (CPA) lawyer Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales and her 19-year-old son on September 1, 2022.

Officials of the Mandaue City Police Office (MCPO) identified one of the suspects as Richard Basalo Delibo, also known as "Coach Ricky," a former swimming coach from the City of Naga, southern Cebu.

Delibo's cohort was still unidentified.

Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol, MCPO's deputy director for operations and spokesperson, told reporters on Tuesday, September 20, they were able to secure Delibo's identity through the help of a “vital witness.”

Personal grudge

According to the witness, Delibo was a former swimming coach who was the subject of several complaints from his clients for illegally terminating the contract signed for his swimming lessons.

Delibo reportedly terminated the contracts after receiving the complete payment.

Oriol said Gonzales happened to handle two of Delibo's cases filed by one of his victims, which were estafa and violations of Republic Act 7610, or the "Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act."

Oriol said the cases encouraged more of Delibo's victims to come out and file complaints against him, leading to the issuance of an arrest warrant against the swimming coach in 2021.

But Oriol said Delibo was able to post bail for his temporary liberty.

According to Oriol, Delibo held a grudge against Gonzales and even blamed her for allegedly bankrupting his business. He then masterminded the plan to shoot Gonzales with his cohort, Oriol added.

He said they were also able to secure CCTV footage showing Delibo and his cohort following Gonzales and her son from her workplace until they were ambushed on Hernan Cortes St. in Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City, on the evening of September 1.

Case filed

Oriol said the footage, the witnesses' statements, and other corroborating pieces of evidence were used as basis to file charges against Delibo and his cohort before the Mandaue City Prosecutor's Office on September 16.

"The MCPO is now waiting for the release of the warrant of arrest. So, we can take further actions in arresting them," Oriol added.

Oriol said they had not identified the location of the suspects yet, but they are confident the culprits are still in Cebu City.

Meanwhile, officials of the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas told SunStar Cebu that they are still conducting further investigation of Gonzales' case. (HIC)