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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

 

A CO-WORKER of the late Julife Balbanida who was arrested for murder and attempted murder charges filed more than 14 years ago Monday morning might be the key to mysterious death of the lady accountant, the Iloilo City police said.  

 

Members of the Iloilo City Police Station nabbed Andrew “Anding” Flores of Brgy. Tagbac, Jaro, Iloilo City at the premises of Uni Eco Builders.

 

Flores is facing murder and attempted murder charges with the Iloilo Regional Trial Court. The cases were filed in 1994 while then Judge Tito Gustilo issued his warrant of arrest sans bail for his temporary liberty.

 

Flores is a colleague of Balbanida who was found dead inside the comfort room of Uni Eco last February 4.

 

Initial reports said Balbanida committed suicide by shooting her head with a caliber .45 pistol for allegedly tampering a check entrusted to her. But the autopsy on her remains and paraffin tests indicate that foul play may have attended her death.

 

Flores is one of the seven Uni Eco workers who underwent but turned negative in the paraffin tests.

 

Balbanida also tested negative for gunpowder residue in her hands while her gunshot wound was inconsistent with most suicide cases, according to the findings of medico legal officer Noel Martinez.

 

Flores initially said he has no idea what happened to Balbanida last February 4 nor did he hear gunfire from their office’s CR.

 

Flores said his employers Teofilo Coo and son Raymond, Balbanida and Albert “Ike” Panganiban were the only ones left inside the office before she was found dead.

 

At around 2pm, Raymond and Panganiban went out to see his lawyer. The duo later returned to the office around 4pm then went to the ICPS to report the alleged check tampering by Balbanida.

 

Teofilo went out of the Uni Eco office around 5pm, Flores said. Balbanida was found dead past 5pm.

 

Flores later told the police and subsequent media interviews that Raymond told him to temporarily close their office between 2pm and 3pm.

 

Chief Insp. Conrado Carganillo, ICPS 1 commander, said they Flores revealed some information to his brother Allen Flores which could shed light on Balbanida’s case.

 

Carganillo said Flores is still one of the suspects in the case “although he can be witness depending on his statements.”

 

“We will find out in his revelations if he knows something about the case,” Carganillo said.

 

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has begun investigating the case by summoning Balbanida’s employers and co-workers.

 

The Balbanida family sought the NBI’s help believing that lady accountant was murdered.

 

The family threatened to sue Uni Eco’s management and personnel if they do not cooperate in the investigation.

 

The City Hall offered cash reward to persons who can help the police even as the ICPS and the Iloilo City Police Office formed two investigating teams that will crack the case.   

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