THE Department of Justice has approved the filing of murder and serious physical injury charges against former Army reservist Vhon Martin Tanto who killed a biker and injured bystander in a traffic altercation in Quiapo, Manila last July.
In a resolution dated August 18 but only released Tuesday, the DoJ said there is no iota of doubt probable cause exists to charge Tanto for murder and serious physical injuries.
“After a careful evaluation of the records of this case, the undersigned investigating prosecutors find the evidence adduced by the complainant together with the extrajudicial admission by the respondent during the inquest proceeding and public, thru the media, that he shot the victim Mark Vincent Garalde and involuntarily injuring victim Rosell Bondoc, as sufficient to show probable cause that respondent is probably guilty for murder and serious physical injury,” said the resolution signed by Assistant State Prosecutors Robert Ong and Jeannette Dacpano and approved by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano.
The resolution also said that aside from Tanto’s admission of the crime and the account of eyewitness Bryan Yu, the shooting incident was also captured by close circuit television camera positioned along P. Casal Street which showed Tanto and Garalde engaging in a fistfight before the shooting.
The prosecutors said Tanto did not give Garalde a chance to defend himself as he had already turned his back on respondent, thinking that they had already settled the matter after the fistfight when shot four times, including in the face.
Bondoc was also hit and was confined in hospital for several days.
“It is pristine clear that there was treachery. Said series of events was also verified by the undersigned prosecutors through the clear CCTV footage,” the resolution said adding that the autopsy of the victim’s body showed that Garalde sustained multiple gunshot wounds on the head, body and upper extremity.
“The respondent who is a Philippine Army reservist and has sufficient training in handling firearms, took advantage of his superior strength and expertise, by intentionally shooting Garalde numerous times to effectively ensure his demise,” the DoJ added.
Investigators said the altercation between Tanto and Garalde occurred after the suspect’s Hyundai Eon vehicle hit the bicycle rider.
The two then engaged in a fistfight before Tanto shot the victim and fled the crime scene.
Tanto who was arrested by a combined Army and police team in Masbate on July 29 admitted and apologized for the crime though he claimed that Garalde’s arrogant behavior provoked him into shooting the victim.