A UST student could help solve the killing of Reserved Officers Training Corps’ (ROTC) whistleblower Mark Chua.

The student has recently surfaced as a witness claiming he saw Chua on the night of March 15 at the Department of Military Science and Tactics (DMST) office.

Last December, Chua together with fellow Engineering student Romulo Yumul filed a complaint with the Department of National Defense citing anomalies in the UST-DMST. The complaint resulted in the relief of then Commandant Major Demy Tejares and his staff.

Two months later, Chua’s body was found wrapped in a carpet, floating at the Pasig River. His head wrapped in packaging tape and his hands bound by shoestrings.

In a news article published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer last Nov. 8, Welson Chua said that the new witness was the last person “who saw his son alive on the night of March 15.”

Welson said the student saw a man in the DMST office, lying on his stomach, his hands and feet tied, and his head wrapped with packaging tape.

However, according to the article, the new witness only gave “circumstantial evidence to show that some of the suspects were with Chua on March 15.”

Among the officers tagged by the witness were Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Eduardo Tabrilla and former ROTC cadet officer Paul Joseph Tan.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also included former ROTC Corps Commander Michael von Rainard Manangbao, Cadet Colonel Patrick Christopher Cruz, and Genesis Binagatan.

The new witness said another cadet officer, Arnulfo Appari invited them to play the game, Counter Strike, at a computer shop on P. Noval Street. Tabrilla was holding a shoelace and even tried to tie it around Aparri’s neck on the way to the shop.

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Later, he saw Chua entering the officer’s lounge in the DMST office with Tabrilla and Tan. When the witness left the office at about 9:45 pm he said that Chua and the officers were still there.

Last Nov. 18, Welson Chua revealed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the pilot telecast of the President’s show, “May Gloria ang bukas mo,” when he guested in her show in Baguio, the “dark activities” run by cadet officers in the UST-ROTC. He alleged the existence of a kidnap-for-ransom group composed of seven cadet officers.

Included in the list were Cadet Major Jeremy Gabriel Donuan and those listed above except Cruz and Binagatan.

Unconfirmed reports state that Manangbao already fled to the United States.

In the same article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Welson feared that authorities may have a hard time tracking Manangbao to issue arrest warrants, since his father is a “police colonel, who may either be hiding his son or preparing to send him out of the country.” Maria Pacita C. Joson

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