Gunman in slay-try of journalist gets 6 years-A A +A
Sunday, July 22, 2012
MAKATI Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Perpetua Atal-Paño found guilty the suspect in the foiled murder of broadcaster Nilo Labares in Cagayan de Oro on March 5, 2009.
In her June 4, 2012 decision, promulgated last June 28, Paño sentenced the accused Bernardo “Nanding” Aguilar to six years imprisonment for shooting Labares, then chief of reporters and anchor of dxCC-Radio Mindanao Network.
Aside from the jail term, the court also ordered Aguilar to pay Labares P275,000 in damages.
On November 3, 2009, the accused filed a motion to dispense with his physical presence during trial but from then on, he no longer appeared in court.
The case was submitted for decision after Aguilar and his lawyer failed to attend two consecutive hearings set for the presentation of the defense’s evidence and witnesses.
In handling the decision, the judge gave weight to the positive identification of the accused and testimony of witnesses that Aguilar was the one who shot Labares.
“The testimony of the witnesses convincingly established that the accused shot the complainant with intent to kill,” the decision said.
Labares had received death threats prior to the ambush and believed that the attempt on his life was work-related after he exposed the illegal gambling activities in Cagayan de Oro, particularly the video karera machine.
Labares survived the slay-attempt by two gunmen riding in tandem on a motorcycle while on his way home.
The frustrated murder case against Aguilar was originally filed before the RTC branch 21 in Cagayan de Oro City, but was transferred to RTC branch 134 in Makati City through the Supreme Court Third Division’s resolution granting the transfer of the trial venue of the case as the threat for the lives and security of the witnesses is highly possible.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 23, 2012.