By Nancy Carvajal
The National Bureau of Investigation is digging deeper into reports that retired Army Lt. Col. and former Drug Enforcement Agency official Edwin Layese, heads a gun for hire operation using security guards as hitmen.
“After he was dismissed from service Layesa was hired as overall security manager of a big Cebu company, where he could have meet and recruited his hitmen,” an NBI source familiar with the case told Politiko_Ph.
Layese headed the PDEA offices in Region 6, 10 and ARMM, but was dismissed from the post for supposedly lack of Civil Service eligibility requirements in 2012, despite being a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy.
Layese was positively identified by one his alleged hitman, Fausto Edgar Benigno Peralta, 55, as the “contractor’’ for the death of lawyer Joey Luis Wee in November in Cebu City, but the former military man was also pinned by the hitman in the ambushed of another lawyer James Gupana, also in Lapu-lapu City , in October also last year.
Gupana survived the attempt.
Peralta was arrested in Cabuyao, Laguna on December 10, 2020 by NBI agents who was able to trace him through the cellphone number he registered in a car rental prior to the killing.
In his sworn statement to the NBI- Peralta said that Wee’s wife was also part of the contract, but was supposedly retracted by Layese hours before the killing.
Peralta also told NBI investigators through a sworn affidavit that Layese, did not only paid them for the assasinations, but also “supervised, monitored and provided transport ‘’ for Peralta and his crew in the two incidents.
“Also noteworthy was Layese was able to obtain travel and quarantine protocol documents for the suspects in the middle of the pandemic,’’ the investigator said.
“Like in the movies, the gunmen were housed in a hotel and firearms were provided by local contacts, which showed the group is organized,’’ the investigator added.
Based on the NBI –Region 7 report to Director Officer in charge Eric Distor- Layese maintained five residences- in various areas of the province, but one of which remained unknown to the investigators except its located in the South of Cebu.
When Layese was arrested in the parking lot of a Cebu City hospital on January 12, the NBI found in his possession a .40 caliber revolver which registration had expired in 2004, sixteen years ago and under the name of another person from Jaro, Iloilo City.
Also named as part of the gun for hire group were; John Raymond Suarez and Randy Palparan.
NBI has filed murder charged against the four suspects before the Cebu City Regional Trial Court.