The two Army reservists, who are also employed as security guards and suspected to have been involved in the shootout with other “blue guards” Monday in a disputed property at Brgy. Concepcion in Talisay City, were released midnight Tuesday, after the lapse of the 36-hour reglamentary period of detention, police chief Supt. Thomas Joseph Martir said yesterday.
Martir, who is the Talisay police chief, said they were forced to release reservists Marvin Esparas and Joar Sayod, who are also members of the E and R Security Agency, after no charges were filed against them in court, during the period of their detention.
He also admitted that no firearms were taken from Esparas and Sayod, as the four shotguns, a .22 caliber rifle and an M-16 assault rifle were recovered at the scene of the incident.
The shootout in Hacienda Handumanan, Brgy. Concepcion claimed the lives of security guards Francis Lumangyao and Federico Mandate, and caused injuries to Honorato Talimudao and his son Ralph Marshall, Rodolfo Aboc, Army Cpl. Rene Escalona and Army reservist Lolito Onate.
Police investigation showed the shootout was triggered by a land dispute that involves several families.
While Esparas and Sayod underwent paraffin tests, Martir said he was informed by personnel of the PNP Crime Laboratory that Escalona, Onate and Aboc refused to take the test on advice of their counsel.
The cadavers of Mandate and Lumangyao were also subjected to paraffin tests.
He said the six firearms recovered were already turned over to the PNP Crime Laboratory for ballistic examination.
Martir said the disputed area is now being patrolled by police troopers assigned at the Community Police Assistance Center in Brgy. Concepcion, Talisay City, to diffuse tension.
He added lawyers of the families who are claiming the disputed property are preparing the filing of charges and countercharges against individuals who figured in the shootout.
Senior Supt. Celestino Guara, caretaker of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said Escalona should explain his presence in the area.*GPB