By Francis Allan L. Angelo

GOOD enough.

This was the reaction of C/Insp. Conrado Carganillo, Iloilo City Proper police chief, with the filing of homicide charge against the suspects in the death of an office accountant and secretary early this year.

Carganillo said the filing of the case confirmed their investigation that Julife Balbanida did not commit suicide but was shot to death.

Balbanida, a native of Arevalo, Iloilo City, was found dead February 4 inside the comfort room of Uni Eco Steel Corp. on Valeria Street, Iloilo City.

The Iloilo City Prosecutors Office (ICPO) has approved the filing of homicide charges with the Regional Trial Court against Teofilo and Raymond Kho, owners of sang Uni Eco Steel and employee Ike Panganiban.  

The suspects initially claimed that Balbanida committed suicide inside the CR but the Iloilo City Proper police discovered evidence that point to foul play.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) originally filed murder raps against the Khos and Panganiban April 2009 but the ICPO lowered the charges to homicide.

Carganillo said they sought the help of the NBI in gathering more evidence and statements of witnesses and suspects “because we have no subpoena powers.”

“The NBI can summon any person for investigation through a subpoena. We were able to gather more proof of foul play with the help of the NBI,” Carganillo said.

Carganillo said they are contented with the decision of the ICPO “as it proves that Balbinada was killed and did not commit suicide.”

“We are vindicated. At least, the prosecutors were able to find probable cause to sue the suspects for homicide.” Carganillo said.

Based on the final NBI investigation report, Balbanida’s death was not a case of suicide as claimed by her employers.

NBI Special Agent (SA) Ernesto Lim said Balbanida was killed after the Kos discovered the tampered check worth P60,000 which they entrusted to the victim being the accountant and trusted employee.

The altered check surfaced after bank employee Paul Albert Javian brought it to Uni-Eco to verify Teofilo Kho’s signature.

The Khos wondered why the check was marked “paid to cash” instead of indicating the name of the payee.

“The situation worsened when the employers alleged that they discovered more tampered checks after conducting their own investigation. The killing emanated from the discovery of dishonesty, deceit and fraud allegedly committed by the victim when she was entrusted huge amounts of money. Another reason is the alleged abuse of confidence by the victim who virtually ran the finances of the company. When they discovered the anomaly, they erupted. These are the crystal clear motives of the respondents,” Lim said in his investigation.

While they cannot determine who shot Balbanida, the NBI said the Khos and Panganiban were the only persons with the victim before she was found dead inside the CR.

“Panganiban is not part of management and he claimed that it was his day off when the incident happened. But he was there after he was summoned by his employers. Why was he there when he had nothing to do with money matters? He is too obedient,” Lim said.

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