By Jim Lloyd Dongiapon
Former Police Lieutenant Colonel (PLT. Col.) Leonardo Felonia was acquitted by the Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Davao City of his alleged involvement in the 2014 murder of Cebuano businessman Richard King.
Atty. Caesar Europa, PLT. Col. Felonia’s legal counsel, made this announcement yesterday afternoon, February 7.
Atty. Europa disclosed in a virtual press conference that his client was released at 4:30 p.m. yesterday after eight years of being detained.
On June 12, 2014, almost nine years ago, Richard Lim King, 57, was fatally shot by an assailant while he and his staff were eating inside the Vital-C Building on Sobrecarey Street, Barrio Obrero, Davao City.
King was the chairman and chief executive officer of J. King & Sons Co. Inc.. He was also the developer of Crown Regency, Club Ultima, and the City Suites Ramos Tower, and the founder and director of Boracay Multiple Properties Inc.
On June 23, 2014, 11 days after the murder, Paul Dave Labang, a self-confessed gunman, surrendered to authorities and named Felonia, who was serving as the chief of the Regional Intelligence Unit-11 at the time, as the alleged mastermind.
Felonia turned himself in to the authorities the following day, on June 24, 2014. He was later relieved of his position.
The Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices then suspended him in 2015 due to his alleged involvement in the crime.
After a thorough examination of the crime, the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) “King” concluded that “business and hatred” were the motives.
Aside from Felonia and Labang, who were both charged with murder, Rodel and Rommel dela Cerna were also arrested and charged.
Meanwhile, King’s family and relatives have yet to release their statement regarding the latest development in the case.