Fiscal: Probe vs. ex-HPG 7 men to go on-A A +A
Thursday, July 3, 2014
THE Office of the Lapu-Lapu City Prosecutor will continue with its preliminary investigation on the criminal charges against the five former Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 officials, who were implicated in the ambush-slay of lawyer Noel Archival and his two aides.
Deputy City Prosecutor Jesus Rodrigo Taga-an denied the defense’s motion to defer the case investigation until their pleading with the Department of Justice (DOJ) is resolved.
In his three-page order, Taga-an, the acting provincial prosecutor, ruled that waiting for the DOJ’s action on the defense’s motion for reconsideration “may result to an indefinite suspension of the preliminary investigation.”
“A delay in the preliminary investigation would not work well to the cause of not only complainant’s, but respondents’ as well,” said Taga-an in his order.
Private prosecutors Democrito Barcenas and Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu welcomed the prosecutor’s resolution.
“We salute Fiscal Tagaan for his speedy, courageous and efficient handling of the Archival murder case,” said Barcenas.
Barcenas said the defense is no longer allowed to delay the disposition of the case “at the expense of justice.”
For her part, Dalawampu said the preliminary investigation should continue “without delay,” pursuant to the prosecutor’s manual.
“The investigation has been unduly delayed by inhibition and motions to the brink of abuse. Let’s continue since the defense had already exhausted, but failed in the operation of their legal engine to bring the case to Manila,” said Dalawampu.
Since the filing of complaint, Dalawampu observed that the issue has been focused on the defense’s move to take the case out of Cebu.
“Not on the quantum of evidence against respondents that the investigators and the defense could not hear anymore the cry of the victims’ heart for justice. With the denial of the motion to defer, it’s time to show our cards, not tell,” she said.
But lead defense lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna Jr. said the case resolution has been delayed due to the alleged prosecution’s inaction.
“The mere fact that Fiscal Taga-an ordered us to submit supplemental counter-affidavit means the complaint is not yet complete,” said dela Cerna.
He said the prosecutor’s resolution vindicated them from public perception that they cause the delay.
Dela Cerna also said they were not furnished with the additional evidence that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 submitted to the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office.
Dela Cerna said they are contented with the way Taga-an handles the case. He said he will file a motion to hasten the case resolution.
Taga-an pointed out that prosecutors are mandated to resolve criminal complaints within 60 days.
The Revised Manual for Prosecutors provides that suspension of a preliminary investigation may be allowed only where prejudicial question arises.
Without an order from the justice secretary, the preliminary investigation of the case will continue, said Taga-an. He gave the defendants 10 days to submit their supplemental counter-affidavit meant to refute the additional evidence the NBI 7 submitted to the provincial prosecutor.
The respondents are Insp. Joselito Lerion, former HPG 7 Special Operations Team chief; Supt. Romualdo Iglesia, former HPG 7 director; Chief Insp. Eduardo Mara, former HPG provincial chief; SPO4 Edwin Galan, former HPG 7 designated custodian; and PO1 Alex Bacani.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2014.