Partner speaks up for Archival

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014


TWO days before lawyer Noel Archival was slain in Dalaguete town last Feb. 18, his live-in partner had heard him telling someone that he expected the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 to get back at him.

“Pre, di na gyud ni magdugay akong sakyanan kay giinitan na gyud ko sa HPG kay mobawos gyod sila nako (I don’t think I’ll keep this vehicle for long, because the HPG is eager to get back at me),” Archival reportedly told Melbert Aquino, a brother-in-law of Eillen Cosep.

Cosep’s affidavit, along with sworn statements from a security guard and car shop employee, a joint affidavit of two law enforcers and other documents were filed by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 before the Office of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor yesterday afternoon.

These are additional evidence for the multiple murder and frustrated murder complaints the NBI earlier filed against five former HPG 7 officials, who have since been reassigned to Metro Manila.

“If we get new testimony, we will include it in the complaints,” NBI 7 Director Max Salvador said in Tagalog.

Named respondents in the complaints are Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, HPG 7 director; Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara, HPG provincial chief; Senior Insp. Joselito Lerion, HPG 7 Special Operations Team head; SPO4 Edwin Galan, HPG 7 designated custodian; and PO1 Alex Bacani.

Their lawyer, Inocencio dela Cerna, yesterday asked Judge Soliver Peras to declare null the search warrant he had issued, which the NBI 7 used to seize the red Toyota Vios (GSC 675) believed to have been used to ambush Archival and two of his employees.

Dela Cerna filed a supplemental motion to quash the search warrant, arguing that the NBI 7 failed to present evidence based on personal knowledge when it applied for the warrant.

“There was never any mention of a red Toyota Vios (GSC-675); nor was there any categorical statement by the lone survivor (Paolo Cortes) of a gray Mitsubishi Strada (ZEZ-932 and NVD-549) as the vehicles used by the assailants,” said dela Cerna.

So the inclusion of the vehicles was not based on personal knowledge, but “mere specious speculation.”

Using the warrant, the authorities seized the vehicle from the HPG 7 impounding area in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City last March 20.

Dela Cerna also sent a letter asking Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to direct the prosecutor’s office to inhibit from the case.

They worry that Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival, brother of the slain lawyer,
might influence the prosecutors.

Councilor Archival is opposing the former HPG officials’ request. He said it would be too costly for the family to bring the witnesses to Manila during hearings, if the DOJ will grant the respondents’ request.

It would also be impractical to bring the evidence and vehicles allegedly used during the ambush to Manila.

Mayor Michael Rama is also against the move, pointing out that the attack took place in Cebu.

“This is a way of delaying the case and it pains us,” Councilor Archival told
reporters.

“I am just a city councilor. What’s my clout?” He plans to write the justice secretary as well, after telling their lawyers to formally oppose the request.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 01, 2014.

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