Police Colonel Eric Dampal (center), director of the Iloilo City Police Office, urges Police Corporal Joseph Andrew Joven, suspect in two murder cases, to surface and defend himself in court. Joven has not reported to the city police office since March after failing to undergo a drug test. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN “It was the Britanico family’s choice to go to the NBI. We helped the NBI,” said Dampal who was appointed ICPO on Feb. 20, a month after the Britanico-Muller killings. “Hence, after inflicting several fatal wounds at Britanico, they took his mobile phone,” the NBI surmised./PN ILOILO City – Where is Police Corporal Joseph Andrew Joven, one of the two policemen charged in the killing of a son of former assemblyman Salvador “Buddy” Britanico and a call center agent? “Much better siguro na mag-surface s’ya. Harapin n’ya ang kaso n’ya para madepensahan n’ya ang sarili n’ya,” said Police Colonel Eric Dampal, director of the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO). Joven had been AWOL (absent without official leave) from the ICPO since March 12. Britanico spotted the men while on his way home to Prime Estate Subdivision in Barangay Nabitasan. He was eventually charged administratively for grave neglect of duty (failure to report for duty) and less grave neglect of duty (failure to undergo mandatory drug test). Charged with Joven for murder and theft for the Britanico-Muller slays were Police Corporal Jerry Villanueva assigned at the Regional Personnel Holding and Accounting Unit of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) and two other unidentified persons. “Joven admitted (to the car rental owner) he was the driver of the group. Further, (he) said that after killing Muller, they stopped at a vacant lot in (Barangay) Nabitasan, La Paz to strip off the white stickers from the Adventure. Britanico saw and confronted them so they shot Britanico to death,” read part of the NBI statement announcing its findings and the eventual filing of charges. Joven had not reported to the ICPO after failing to undergo a drug test that Dampal ordered for all city policemen in March. The NBI conducted its own investigation on the killings upon the order of President Rodrigo Duterte whose help was sought by former assemblyman Britanico. Its probe took some four months. According to Distor, the car rental owner told the NBI that Joven confessed to him that “the Adventure was used by his group as getaway vehicle in killing Muller and Britanico.” The ICPO, on the other hand, remained vague as to the status of its own investigation. The ICPO under Defensor had a poor track record in solving crimes, particularly shootings. Dampal said the ICPO respects the NBI’s filing of charges against Joven and the three others. In a press conference yesterday, Dampal said policemen would be hunting Joven down once a warrant for the suspect’s arrest has been issued. According to NBI officer-in-charge Eric Distor, the same vehicle – a Mitsubishi Adventure was seen in both killings, and that witnesses further saw one of the suspects taking something from Britanico. Thesuccessivekillings – just minutes apart – of Muller first then Britanico were initially thought as separate incidents. The NBI, however, discovered they were related by circumstance. “Gagawin natin ang lahat para maging mabuti ang ang ating pamamahala sa ICPO. I have to study all unsolved cases,” said Dampal on Feb. 20 when he formally assumed the city police’s directorship. The NBI traced the vehicle to the PAPO Car Rental and determined that it was Joven who rented it for two days or until Jan. 20, 2020. Dampal was a former director of the Compostela Valley Police Provincial Office. He also had a stint at the Police Regional Office 11 or Davao Region. According to the NBI, Britanico’s wife described her husband as having a “temper for traffic violators and does not hesitate to take photographs or videos of such and post them on social media.” Villanueva is now under restrictive custody at the PRO-6. Taking this into consideration, according to the investigators, the suspects may have assumed that Britanico reported their activities to the authorities when he made a call or took photos or videos of them. He was charged on May 29 with murder and theft by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) for the Jan. 19, 2020 fatal shooting of 36-year-old businessman Delfin Britanico of La Paz district and 42-year-old call center agent and drug surrenderer Alain Muller of Jaro district. The city police director at the time of the killings was Police Colonel Martin Defensor, now reassigned to the PRO-6.