By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras
THE PHILIPPINE National Police (PNP) on Monday named a younger brother of businessman Dominic L. Sytin as the alleged mastermind of his murder.
PNP chief Director General Oscar D. Albayalde identified the alleged mastermind as Dennis L. Sytin following the testimony of Edgardo Luib, the alleged hitman who was arrested in Batangas on March 5.
“This high-profile murder of Dominic Lim Sytin was apparently motivated by rivalry among corporate siblings and carried out thru a gun-for-hire contract with a hitman,” said Mr. Albayalde in a press briefing at Camp Crame on Monday, March 11.
Mr. Sytin was shot dead outside the Lighthouse Hotel at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on Nov. 28 last year. His bodyguard Efren Espartero was wounded in the incident.
Mr. Sytin is CEO of United Auctioneers, Inc. (UAI), chairman of Foton Philippines, and director and chairman of the board of listed company LMG Chemicals Corp.
Mr. Luib was arrested after a police witness affirmed his identity.
“Lumalabas na merong directives si Mr. Dennis sa kanya [Luib] (It turns out that Mr. Dennis had directives for [Luib]). Well, this is part of his extra judicial confession,” Mr. Albayalde said, presenting the alleged gunman to the media on Monday.
For his part, Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon) Regional Director Police Brig. General Joel Napoleon Coronel said the Sytin brothers were in conflict over business.
“Based on the investigation, it was shown before the killing of Dominic Sytin there has been an apparent dispute or disagreement between the brothers — Dominic, the victim, and the principal suspect. Apparently, they were quarreling over shares or control of shares of the United Auctioneers, Inc.,” Mr. Coronel said at the press briefing.
According to the information gathered by PNP, UAI has five shareholders with 20% shares each: Dominic, Dennis, two other brothers, and their mother.
Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Police Director Amador V. Corpus said Dennis Sytin was fired in 2015 by Dominic Sytin for diverting equipment to his own company.
“Tinanggal po si Dennis sa kumpanya…naglagay po siya ng sariling kumpanya at dina-divert niya ‘yung mga ibang equipment du’n. So nagkaroon po sila ng matinding away. Actually, off-limits siya sa United Auctioneers, Inc., ino-off-limit siya dun ni Dominic,” said Mr. Corpus. (Dennis was fired from the company….He established his own company and diverted some equipment to that company. So there was bad blood between the two. Actually, Dominic banned him from United Auctioneers, Inc.).
Another suspect in the murder is former UAI employee Ryan Rementilla who was also fired by the older Mr. Sytin last year.
“Sometime in August 2018, nadiskubre ni Dominic na marami rin siyang nadispalto, so tinanggal siya [Rementilla]….Ang ginawa naman ni Ryan, kinuha siya ni Dennis, nagtrabaho siya kay Dennis,” Mr. Corpus said. (Sometime in August 2018, Dominic learned that [Mr. Rementilla] embezzled a lot of money [from the company], so he was fired. Then he was hired by Dennis).
“Then September, naghanap sila ng gunman…ito pinapunta sa Olongapo, at nag-meeting sila kasama si Ryan at Dennis. Tatlo sila and one John Doe which we suspect to be a tipster.” (Then September, they were looking for a gunman…who was invited to Olongapo for a meeting. So, the three of them, plus one John Doe which we suspect to be a tipster.)
Mr. Corpus said Mr. Luib was promised P1,000,000 for the hit job but only got P50,000 in three installments so far.
Mr. Albayalde, for his part, said Mr. Luib “was the subject of an outstanding warrant of arrest for two counts of murder filed in Batangas. He has since eluded arrest when our operatives went to serve the warrants of arrest at his known address in Imus, Cavite, last February.”
Mr. Coronel, in turn, said “Si Dennis, as far as we know, is still here in the country and we were in touch with him the previous month and asking details, update about the investigation and we have recently informed other members of the family about the development of the case.”
PNP will file charges of murder and frustrated murder against the suspects before the Department of Justice.