CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Police investigators are closing in on at least four persons of interest suspected behind the killing of University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) president Dr. Ricardo Rotoras.
Police Chief Insp. Mardy Hortillosa, spokesperson of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO), said the four could be both the killers and mastermind of the shooting death of the state-run university president.
Authorities have declined for now to reveal their suspects’ identities so that the investigation and case build-up will not be compromised.
Rotoras was shot to death by unidentified gunmen outside his house at Golden Glow North, Upper Carmen, this city, on December 2. He sustained multiple gunshot wounds.
The USTP president came from a Masons party and arrived home around 1:00 a.m. accompanied by his driver Jonathan Khobutin.
Police said the pair of paraffin casts taken from both hands of Khobutin yielded negative result for gunpowder nitrates.
Investigators have secured affidavits of Rotoras’ wife and the witnesses.
The police also obtained footage from Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) installed nearby that could possibly have recorded the commission of the crime and the faces of the perpetrators.
Hortillosa said the CCTV footages will be enhanced if needed to help the police draw the sketch of the killers’ likeness.
Meanwhile, the reward money was raised as the Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, on Tuesday, December 5, pledged a PhP1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspects.
This makes the reward total P2 million, including the P1 million offered earlier by City Mayor Oscar Moreno.
The City Council is also contemplating a possible additional P500,000 in order to better persuade witnesses to come forward and help pin down the mastermind of the crime.
The USTP community, meanwhile, will hold a three-day wake, open to public viewing, for Rotoras, starting Wednesday, December 6, at the school’s gymnasium.
At around 8 a.m., the remains of Rotoras will be transferred from Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes to the USTP gym, where a mass will be held thereafter.
He will be laid to rest on Friday, December 8.
Some 112 presidents of state universities and colleges all over the country are expected to visit and pay their last respects to their colleague and leader.
The Bukidnon State University community, Free and Accepted Masons of the Philippines, and the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, will also offer masses.
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED), meanwhile, has designated Rosalito Quirino, chancellor of the USTP-Claveria Campus, to temporarily take over the post and obligations left by the late university president.
CHED also approved the requested three-day suspension of classes in USTP, starting this Wednesday until December 8, so the USTP community can mourn and honor their late university president. USTP students were also advised to wear white on the said days.