BANGUED, Abra – Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin hailed the recent decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Quezon City finding former Gov. Vicente Valera guilty of the crime of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of his brother former Rep. Luis Chito Bersamin and his bodyguard in December 2006.
“Justice prevailed for what had been done to my brother,” Bersamin stressed, adding that their long wait for the court decision for nearly eight years has ended.
However, Bersamin cited their relatives and common friends were saddened over the fate of Valera who happens to be their close relative but the loss of his brother is more painful to their family because they lost a sincere and dedicated public servant.
“We have to move on and pursue the reforms that we were able to institute that virtually changed the dark image of Abra into a good one, especially the realization of peaceful and orderly elections during the May 2013 mid-term polls. We should not allow Abra to return to its old state but let us allow the province to move to greater heights through the election of responsible and dynamic public servants who are willing to serve and not to be served,” Bersamin stressed.
Earlier, the RTC of Quezon City rendered a decision finding Valera guilty of the crime of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment after giving weight to the testimony of former La Paz Vice Mayor Freddie Dupo, who was one of the suspects turned witness, directly pointing to the former governor as the brains behind the killing of Rep. Bersamin and his bodyguard SPO2 Adeplpho Ortega.
On December 16, 2006, former Rep. Bersamin and his bodyguard were gunned down by five still unidentified gunmen right after he came out from the Mount Carmel Church in New Manila, Quezon City where he served as one of the godparents in the wedding of his niece.
Bersamin died after sustaining multiple gunshot wounds on the different parts of his head and body while his bodyguard also died in the hospital while being given medical attention in a Quezon City-based hospital.
Dupo executed an affidavit narrating that Valera was the mastermind and his participation in the crime where he was the one who accompanied the hired killers to the church and looked over the execution of the incident.
After the occurrence of the tragic incident that involved Valera, who was then the incumbent governor, the political landscape in the province suddenly changed with the election of Gov. Bersamin as the head of the province for three consecutive terms.
Bersamin was instrumental in instituting reforms that virtually tainted the good image of the province from outside observers following the realization of peaceful elections over the past eight years that contributed in spurring socio-economic growth which is contributory to the improvement of the living condition of people in the remote villages.
“The desire of our people for change to better leadership significantly contributed in uplifting the image of the province and enticing investors to consider Abra as one of their potential business expansion areas. We have to sustains our gains of peace and development for the benefit of the present and future generations of Abreños who want to embrace peace as their overarching agenda for development,” Bersamin added.
For her part, Vice Governor Rosary Bersamin, daughter of the slain lawmaker, said their over nine years of waiting for justice for her slain father has come to an end and that they were able to achieve justice for what has been done to him.
The younger Bersamin expressed her family’s gratitude to those people who supported them from the start up to the present where they were able to achieve justice for her father, saying that they owe a lot to them for their support and compassion in guiding them through the hard times.
Ms. Bersamin vowed that they will continue to reciprocate the support of the people to them by rendering quality public service in order to help uplift the image of the province and maximize its economic potentials for the benefit of the greater majority of the populace.
“It is time for everyone to move on for us to be able to bring Abra to greater heights. Let us not allow the dark days of Abra to be brought back which might derail all our efforts in improving its image through supreme sacrifices that worked for the benefit of a peaceful province,” she stressed.
By Dexter A. See