Move to transfer Archival case to DOJ ‘whimsical, capricious’

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014


WHY is the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 pulling away the investigators from the scene of the crime and the “very material and relevant evidence” in Cebu?

Defense lawyer Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu posed the question in opposing the transfer of the preliminary investigation of the case to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila.

“Verily, for bias and prejudice to be considered valid reasons for the involuntary inhibition, mere suspicion is not enough,” read Dalawampu’s opposition letter sent to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

Dalawampu asked de Lima to deny outright what she called as “whimsical and capricious” the defense’s motion asking the DOJ to take over the investigation.

“HPG7’s bare allegation of Office of the Provincial Prosecutor Cebu’s bias, bad faith, malice and partiality without legal and factual bases is not enough,” read Dalawampu’s letter.

Veteran criminal lawyer Democrito Barcenas also filed a pleading formally informing the prosecutor’s office that he will also serve as a private prosecutor.

Barcenas also opposed the defense’s motion.

Request

The policemen, through their lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, sent a letter to de Lima asking her to direct the prosecutor’s office to refrain from conducting an investigation on the multiple murder and frustrated murder charges filed against them.

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

The respondents are Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, former HPG 7 director; S/Insp. Eduardo Mara, former HPG provincial chief; S/Insp. Joselito Lerion, former HPG 7 Special Operations Team head; SPO4 Edwin Galan, former HPG 7 designated custodian; and PO1 1 Alex Bacani.

They asked de Lima to transfer the investigation to the DOJ and let state prosecutors handle the case.

But prosecution lawyer Dalawampu said the policemen’s contention is “a blatant lie.”

“The letter-request is replete with surmises, suppositions and guesses. Coached in general and sweeping statements, the letter-request is without specifics and support as shown by its contents,” said Dalawampu.

No power

The lawyer said Councilor Nestor Archival does not have the power and influence on the provincial prosecutor, contrary to the policemen’s claim.

“Absolve and exculpate them from this legal quagmire, if they are innocent.

Unfortunately, however, on the same vein, it can, as well, tighten the noose around their necks,” said Dalawampu.

The lawyer said the prosecutor’s office has not shown acts or conduct that show arbitrariness or prejudice before the defense can brand them “with the stigma of bias or partiality.”

Likewise, she said transferring the investigation to Manila is impractical.

“It imperils life and safety of parties, witnesses and lawyers, as well as puts to unnecessary risks the integrity of evidence,” the lawyer said.

The integrity of the evidence relevant and material to the case, Dalawampu said, are better preserved if the investigation is done in Cebu City since there will be minimal movement and transfer of persons and evidence.

“Bringing the investigation of herein case to Manila shall be onerous to the government and parties in terms of time, money and efforts,” the lawyer said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 08, 2014.

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