Charred bodies found in ex-solon’s car

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    CHARRED bodies believed to be that of former Batangas Rep. Edgar Mendoza, his driver, and his aide were found inside the congressman’s burnt car in Tiaong town in Quezon yesterday.

    Tiaong police chief Maj. Lawrence Panganiban said investigators would have to subject the remains to DNA tests before they can establish the identities of the fatalities.

    Mendoza left his home in Batangas Wednesday and went to Laguna with his driver Ruel Ruiz and his aide Nicanor Mendoza to meet a client.

    Panganiban said police received a phone call from a resident about a burning Honda Civic car at San Francisco Bridge in Barangay Francisco at around 12:10 a.m. The car was later traced to Mendoza.

    Recovered at the scene were identification cards of Mendoza, who served as congressman of Batangas’ second district from 1998 to 2001 and now a practicing lawyer.

    “We sent policemen and firemen to the area to put out the fire. But the car was already totally burnt and they found skeletal remains,” said Panganiban.

    Panganiban said Mendoza’s family told police the former congressman left his home in Batangas on Wednesday to meet a client in Laguna.

    “They said he had lunch in Laguna. After that, they didn’t have communication (with Mendoza),” said Panganiban.

    Asked if the remains found inside the car belong to Mendoza, his driver and his aide, Panganiban said, “Based on our investigation, three are missing and three (sets of remains) were also found inside the car.”

    “There is possibility but we have to conduct DNA testing to establish they (remains) indeed belong to them,” he added.

    Panganiban said the remains were found at the car’s backseat. Also, he said, initial investigation showed the car did not have any gun shots.

    “That is what we are investigation, why all of them are there (at the backseat),” said Panganiban.

    On whether has known enemies, Panganiban said: “He is a lawyer, he has many clients. We still don’t know (the motive). That is what we are investigating, its under investigation.”
    Malacañang condemned the apparent killing.

    Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, concurrent presidential spokesman, said Malacañang is “outraged upon learning of the dastardly murder.”

    “This is an outrageous act of barbarism. The perpetrators of this heinous crime will be pursued till they are placed behind bars. We assure the bereaved family of the deceased that justice will be accorded by prosecuting the people behind this dastardly crime to the fullest extent of the law,” he added.