Suspect in judge slay recants, claims torture-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
EDDIE Fortunado, one of the alleged suspects in the killing of Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Henry Arles, recanted his testimony which was used by the National Bureau of Investigation to implicate Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez in the killing of the judge.
Fortunado was wearing a bullet-proof vest when he was brought under heavy guard by the NBI and presented to the court Wednesday in line with the petition for writ of amparo filed by his mother Tessa Fortunado before Judge Fernando Elumba of the Regional Trial Court - Branch 42.
Fortunado also stated during the summary hearing that he was tortured through electrocution and whipped in his testicles and back at the NBI office to force him to sign his affidavit admitting that he, along with other suspects Jessie Daguia and Vicente Capunong, participated in the killing of Arles.
He said he was arrested on June 27 in front of the Negros Southern College in Binalbagan. He said, when he was nabbed, he came from the Land Transportation Office in Himamaylan for the renewal of his driver's license but he was set up by Daguia's cousin to be arrested by the NBI.
Fortunado also asked the court's help that he be released from NBI detention.
Meanwhile, lawyer Ferdinand Lavin, NBI Bacolod head, said without a clear order for Fortunado's release from the court, they will bring Fortunado back to the NBI detention facility in Metro Manila.
He said the alleged torture of Fortunado is a lie, citing the suspect's statement that the judge's brother-in-law lawyer Francisco Britanico and the judge's son Philip Arles introduced themselves to Fortunado after that alleged torture done against him.
Lavin conceded that it is the right of Fortunado to recant his statement. However, Lavin pointed out that, while the three suspects were under NBI custody, they were checked every now and then about their statements and condition and they would always say that they were okay.
"I don't believe in those torture stories,' Lavin said.
He said that the NBI has not allowed the suspect to be left alone with the Arles kins.
He asserted that Fortunado, along with Daguia and Capunong, was the one who sought protective custody with the NBI and that the NBI never allowed civilians to get the statements of the alleged suspects who were in their custody.(Teresa D. Ellera)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 23, 2012.