Probe bureau has 14 witnesses vs Arles slay suspects-A A +A
Friday, September 14, 2012
LAWYER Ferdinand Lavin, agent-in-charge of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)-Bacolod, told the court Thursday that they have 14 witnesses in the killing of Kabankalan Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Henry Arles.
Lavin was presented on Thursday before RTC Branch 42 as witness for the defense on the petition for the Writ of Amparo filed by Tessa Fortunado, mother of Eddie Fortunado who is one of the alleged suspects in the killing of Arles in Barangay Manalad, Ilog in April 24, 2012.
Lavin said the NBI agents, during the conduct of the parallel investigation on the killing of Arles, gathered 14 witnesses at the crime scene when the judge was assassinated, at the RTC in Kabankalan where he was holding office and at a pizza house where the suspects converged after the commission of the crime.
Charged before the Department of Justice with murder are Eddie Fortunado, Vincent Capunong and Jessie Daguia who are at the custody of NBI-Manila; Gerald Tabujara, Marvin Salve, Eman Medez and Mayor John Paul Kho Alvarez of Ilog.
Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez, father of Mayor Alvarez, and Cauayan Vice Mayor Gerry Tabujara were also implicated by another witness codenamed “Honey Bee.”
Lavin said that Honey Bee is not among the 14 witnesses of the NBI.
The court is set to resume the hearing for the petition today, Friday, with the defense set to present as additional witness Henry Arellano, an agent who was with the team of NBI agents who accompanied Fortunado when he allegedly voluntarily surrendered last June 27 in Binalbagan.
Meanwhile, Fortunado's lawyer, Romeo Subaldo Sr., asked the court that during the presentation of more witnesses by the defense, Fortunado should again be brought to the court so that he can make his rebuttal, especially on issues pertaining to the alleged torture on them to sign their affidavit where they confessed their participation in killing Arles.
Lavin asserted that their continued custody of Fortunado is based on his request for voluntary protective custody for fear of his life.
The NBI will also present Dr. Roberto San Diego, who issued a medical certification that the suspects were not tortured before they were officially admitted for custody at NBI-Manila.
Subaldo manifested that Fortunado should be released from NBI custody, as he was not yet charged of any case before the court and that the case for illegal possession of firearms was filed by NBI-Bacolod only after the filing of the petition for the Writ of Amparo as NBI defense for his continued detention. (TDE)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on September 14, 2012.