Uphold warrant: CIDG 7 asks court-A A +A
Friday, March 25, 2011
THE Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) 7 yesterday asked the court to uphold its issuance of a search warrant that empowered authorities to raid the house of Bella Ruby Santos last March 4 on suspicion that she and her foreigner partner had
a hand in the abduction and murder of Ellah Joy Pique.
The CIDG 7, through counsels Inocencio dela Cerna and Glenn Condor, filed a vehement opposition to the motion to quash search warrant, and argued that Santos’s pleading is “completely bereft of any legal or factual basis.”
The quash motion ought to be denied for “utter lack of merit,” the police said. The CIDG 7 also asked Judge Meinrado Paredes to return the seized items to their custody.
Last March 11, Santos, through her Makati-based lawyers filed a motion to quash search the warrant before Judge Paredes, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 13.
Santos’s lawyers also asked the court to return the seized items from their client’s house in Barangay Inayagan in Naga City. The items recovered from Santos’s residence were turned over to court for safekeeping.
The turnover of the items was in compliance with Paredes’s order to turn over to court the items seized in a raid. These items include a bed sheet with suspected bloodstain, sex toys, hair strands and empty porn compact, among others.
However, a Mitsubishi Pajero, which is suspected to be used in the killing of the six-year-old girl, is in the police’s custody.
According to the search warrant, Santos may be the companion of the male foreigner behind the abduction and killing of Pique. Her companion was later identified through their plane tickets as Ian Charles Griffiths, a British national.
Six-year-old Pique was abducted past 4 p.m. in Barangay Calajo-an, Minglanilla by a Filipina and a Caucasian man last Feb. 8. The girl’s body was found at the foot of a cliff in Balili town on Feb. 9.
In their quash motion, lawyers Donnabel Cristal Tenorio and Timothy David argued that in the transcript of the application for search warrant shows the Mitsubishi Pajero (LHJ-382), only two witnesses executed a joint-affidavit relative to the dumping of the victim’s body.
Surveillance made from March 1 to 3 in the gated residence of Santos showed the vehicle was not used in the commission of the crime.
Police authorities, the motion said, gathered from witnesses and not from their personal knowledge.
The motion said the search warrant was based on hearsay because the police and their witnesses do not have the personal knowledge of the case.
In their opposition to the quash motion, lawyers dela Cerna and Condor argued the court issued the search warrant because it was convinced there was probable cause to release one.
“Hence, the determination of whether probable cause exists as to justify the issuance of a search warrant is best left to the sound discretion of a judge. Apparent in the case at bar and as aptly found by honorable RTC judge, there was probable cause justifying the issuance of the search warrant,” the CIDG’s pleading read.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 25, 2011.