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Alleged mastermind, other suspects charged in mining exec’s slay

Legal counsel Lawyers Xilex Barroga and Romel Fontanilla answer questions on the murder case of slain Col. Samuel Afdal, filed by his wife Evelyn Afdal, during a press conference in a hotel in Davao City on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024. The Agusan del Sur Provincial Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause indicting a businessman and two ex-NPA members in a resolution dated Jan. 18, 2024. BING GONZALES

AGUSAN del Sur provincial prosecutor found probable cause to indict a business associate and two other suspects for allegedly conspiring to kill retired colonel and mining executive Samuel G. Afdal in 2021.

Prosecutor Ceferino Paredes filed an amended information before the Regional Trial Court Branch 6 in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur on Jan. 31, adding two names: the victim’s business associate Ryan Mark Baylon and former NPA rebels Rosalino Degracia and Alemar Awado.

After 10 days from the filing, the court will issue warrants for the arrest of Baylon, Degracia, and Awado.

In a statement on Feb. 7, Afdal’s family said, “The recent turn of events in the search for justice for his killing has brought us mixed feelings. On the one hand, we are horribly disheartened and felt betrayed upon knowing that the Agusan del Sur Provincial Prosecutor’s Office had found a higher degree of certainty that Saga’s business associate had a direct role in having him killed. Such reprehensible action deserves our condemnation.”

“But on the other hand, we are consoled by the thought that the wheels of justice grind steadily, indicated by the filing of murder charges before the Regional Trial Court Branch 26 in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur last January 31, 2024, against three more accused.” 

“We hope and pray that this flow will go on unimpeded until the court shall have handed down a verdict on the case in the soonest time possible.” 

The family thanked Paredes and staff, the 75th Infantry Battalion, the Death Investigation Division of the National Bureau of Investigation, and Rosario Municipal Station for helping to build a solid case.

The prosecutor indicted and recommended filing murder charges against Baylon, Degracia, and Awado following the confession of gunman Jeffrey Mamerto who is currently serving a sentence of 10 years in prison after being convicted of the crime last year on Nov. 15.

In his confession, Mamerto pointed to Baylon as the mastermind who allegedly offered P200,000 to Degracia and Awado for the job. He was then given P50,000 by the two for helping them gun down the Philsaga Mining Corp. president. 

The resolution further stated that the office found reasonable certainty of conviction to hold Baylon as a principal by inducement and by indispensable cooperation by giving Degracia, Awado, and Mamerto crucial information to plot the murder. Degracia and Awado were tagged as co-principals by direct participation.

Afdal’s widow Evelyn stated in her affidavit of complaint that Baylon’s actions after her husband’s death established the motive for the crime. 

Evelyn filed the complaint before the Provincial prosecutor’s office against the three on Oct. 26, 2023, tagging Baylon as masterminding the ambush of her husband two years ago in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Rosario town.

According to Evelyn, Baylon “obliterated” the company records that show her husband owning 50% of the shares of JB Earthmovers and his son, 1%, compromising their ownership stake. She noted that Baylon attempted to take control of Rosario Manobo Mining Corporation (RMMC), the company established by Afdal after selling his interests in Philsaga Mining Corporation.

A case for “estafa thru falsification of commercial document/other forms of deceit” is now pending in Davao City’s Prosecutor’s Office.

Afdal was ambushed on Oct. 26, 2021, while driving to the mining site. He was wounded but was able to drive away to seek help in the compound of RMMC. From there, he was rushed to the nearest hospital and was given medical attention. A month later, Afdal succumbed to his injuries on Nov. 15, 2021.

On Aug. 17, 2022, police filed a murder complaint against Mamerto before the prosecutor’s office, and indicted on Nov. 8, 2022, along with two other suspects. The case was raffled to the RTC Branch 6 in Prosperidad town.

It can be noted Mamerto’s confession was presented in court during the pretrial hearing on Nov. 15, 2021, where he pleaded guilty to a lesser crime of homicide and was sentenced to a 10-year prison term. He is currently detained at the provincial jail.





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