‘Robber’s’ lover not arraigned-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
FOR the second time, the arraignment of the live-in partner of robbery suspect Junjun Cabando was postponed yesterday morning.
Merly Lagitao was not able to enter her plea because Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Wilfredo Navarro allowed her lawyer, Brian Bantilan, to file a motion for reconsideration.
Navarro, though, denied Bantilan’s urgent motion to suppress evidence and a motion to quash the case against Lagitao.
“Kon ma-arraign siya, di na namo ma-question ang pagdakop niya (If she will be arraigned, we cannot question the nature of her arrest),” said Bantilan.
The arraignment is the formal reading of a criminal charge against an accused.
Lagitao is Cabando’s co-accused in the robbery with homicide case.
She allegedly served as the lookout of the Cabando-led group when its members allegedly snatched a bag containing P1.2 million from a bank teller who was delivering it to a money changer inside the Robinsons Place Cebu last year. Lagitao, in earlier reports, denied the allegations.
Bantilan said he wondered why the court denied his motions. He said he filed the pleadings, questioning the legality of his client’s arrest.
“My client was arrested with no sufficient basis,” he told reporters after the hearing.
Before Lagitao was arrested, Cabando was the only person named in the arrest warrant. The other suspects were John Does.
Bantilan asked how the authorities were able to identify Lagitao as one of the unnamed suspects.
But the police said two witnesses executed affidavits attesting to her participation in the heist.
Under the Constitution, the warrant of arrest should describe the person or persons to be arrested.
If there is sufficient description to identify the person to be arrested, the John Doe warrant of arrest becomes valid.
Last Aug. 14, Cabando and his other co-accused Rolien Castro pleaded not guilty during their arraignment.
Lagitao was not able to enter her plea that day, after Bantilan filed motions to suppress evidence and to quash the case against the accused.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 19, 2012.