Fiscals ask MTCC judge to reconsider decision

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


PROSECUTORS asked Judge Wilfredo Dagatan to reconsider his decision dismissing the perjury case against Cebuano boxing promoter Rex “Wakee” Salud.

Prosecutors Arnulfo Amodia and Ferdinand Dungog filed a motion asking the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 3 presiding judge to return records of Salud’s perjury case to the court of origin.

“With due respect, this honorable court committed very serious errors of law,” read Amodia and Dungog’s pleading.

Dagatan dismissed the second perjury case against Salud, saying the prosecution was “not telling the truth.”

The case stemmed from the complaint that Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy filed accusing Salud of making false statements in his certificate of candidacy (COC) in 2012.

Violation

Sitoy accused Salud of violating Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code for making “false testimony” under oath when he claimed to have lived in Barangay Cogon, Cordova town for one year and 11 months in his transfer of registration application.

Judge Dagatan pointed out the complaint stated that Salud “feloniously” swore before election officer Arvin Maghanoy during the filing of his COC.

In the amended complaint, the prosecution, however, changed the election officer’s name to Jovito Beltran.

“In other words, the prosecution was vacillating and their primordial duty to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt is now tainted with infirmity,” Dagatan said.

Denied

He said the prosecution can no longer conform with their evidence to the complaint since their motion was denied.

Dagatan said conducting a hearing on the case would be an “exercise in futility.”

In the pleading, the prosecution argued that the MTCC Branch 3 in Mandaue City “is devoid of any jurisdiction to try and decide this case.”

Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judge Jocelyn Uy-Po first handled the perjury case against Salud before she inhibited from hearing the case.

“The proper procedure is for the Regional Trial Court judge, or the Supreme Court, to designate another judge to replace Judge (Jocelyn) Uy-Po in handling the case,” the prosecutors said.

Clerical

The prosecutors also said the complaint bears the signature of the election officer “whoever he was.”

“The wrong citation of his name was evidently a clerical error,” the prosecution said.

On Oct. 4, 2012, Salud filed his COC to run against then re-electionist Sitoy despite court ruling that he was not a registered voter of Cordova.

But the election board struck down Salud’s attempt to transfer his voter’s registration to the municipality.

The poll board ruled that Salud failed to substantiate the period of his residency in his application for transfer of registration.

The Comelec Second Division, in its Jan. 4, 2013 resolution, ruled that Salud was not and could not be a registered voter of Barangay Cogon. His residency in the barangay fell short of the one-year requirement for him to be eligible to run for mayor.

Salud claimed he had been renting a house in the barangay since June 2011, bought a 2,000-square-meter lot there and opened a lumber store.

In his complaint, Sitoy said Salud committed perjury when he filed his second application for registration due to change of residence before the election registrar in Cordova on Oct. 31, 2012.

Sitoy said Salud lied when he claimed in his application that he resided in the barangay from Nov. 30, 2010 to Oct. 31, 2012.

The defense, however, filed a motion to quash information and dismiss the case on Sept. 2, 2013.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 28, 2013.

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