PNP probe finds slain Masbate newsman involved in ‘love triangle’ 

NAGA CITY – Police investigators in Masbate are now looking into the involvement of a local journalist in an alleged “love triangle” to identify his assailant who stabbed him dead last Saturday.

Follow up probe done by Police Officer 3 Sunday Gacuma and Police Officer 1 Aldee Delavin under Masbate City Police Station revealed that victim Ariel Lerit, 48, former news anchor and publisher of local tabloid Masbate Times, was the subject of a certain Paulo Sta. Romana’s jealousy over his estranged wife Redalyn Sta. Romana, barangay secretary of Anas, Masbate City where Lerit was the incumbent chairman.

Delavin said in a phone interview that Redalyn filed a case of violation of Republic Act 9262, otherwise known as Violence Against Women and Their Children (VAWC) Act, against Paulo for showing hostility against her and Lerit for their alleged illicit relationship.

He added that investigations revealed Paulo confronted Lerit in their barangay sometime last January and issued a threat to kill him.

He also said that police in Masbate City are doing their best to find Paulo to invite him for questioning regarding the crime. Paulo’s whereabouts remain unknown as of the moment.

Senior Police Officer 1 Zandro Cabintoy, spokesman of Masbate Provincial Police Office, said in a previous interview that Lerit died after a still unknown person stabbed him repeatedly in front of Eighteen Seventeen Bar and Grill along Ibañez Street at barangay JT Fernandez, Masbate City while waiting to catch a tricycle home at around 12:50 a.m. Saturday.

He said Lerit died while being treated at Masbate Provincial Hospital, also in Masbate City. He was with errand boy Bobby Bornillo, 44, who now stands as the sole witness in the case.

In an emailed message Wednesday, Cabintoy revealed that interviews with mediamen in Masbate disclosed that Lerit have already retired from his career as media practitioner sometime after he was elected as barangay chairman in 2013.

“The victim was formerly part of the Tri-Media of Masbate City such as DYME, TV/Radio Station, Stalwart Journal Local Newspaper and Vanguard Tabloid Publisher and his practice to aforesaid profession had existed until the time he was elected as Chairman of Barangay  Anas, Masbate City on October 2013,” the Masbate City Police Station records said.

Delavin said they interviewed local journalists Ruben Basas of REKORIDA Publishing and Newspaper and deejay Jesus Bellosello of Radyo Natin who both confirmed that Lerit retired from media around last year.

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