Who’s delaying the case resolution?

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Friday, July 4, 2014


THE prosecution in the complaint for the ambush-slay of lawyer Noel Archival and his two companions denied the insinuation it is causing the delay in the case resolution.

“Delay? The prosecution did not file a motion to inhibit the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor. It was the defense which filed the motion to defer. We conformed to the designation of Prosecutor (Jesus Rodrigo) Taga-an, the defense did not,” said Private Prosecutor Gloria Lastimosa-Dalawampu.

Taga-an, the Lapu-Lapu City deputy prosecutor appointed as acting provincial prosecutor, denied the defense's motion to defer the preliminary investigation against five Highway Patrol Group (HPG) 7 officials.

Waiting for the resolution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the policemen's motion “may result to an indefinite suspension” of the preliminary investigation, Taga-an said.

While the prosecution welcomed the development, lead Defense Lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna Jr. accused Taga-an of “inaction.”

When Taga-an ordered the respondents to submit their supplemental counter-affidavit, dela Cerna believes that it was an indication that the complaint isn't complete yet.

Additional

The defense should not be blamed for the delay in the case resolution, he said, since the prosecution did not even furnish them with the copy of the additional evidence that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 submitted to the Provincial Prosecutor's Office.

Despite the denial of their motion, dela Cerna said they trust in the fairness of Prosecutor Taga-an in resolving the preliminary investigation.

Likewise, dela Cerna said they are still studying the appropriate move for an extension of time to file supplemental affidavit since he said the prosecution has “deliberately withheld” 11 vital documents from the respondents.

But Dalawampu said it is the defense that wants to take the case out of Cebu and be handled by the DOJ prosecutors in Manila.

“The prosecution did not file any motion which necessarily suspends or delays proceedings. Now that the defense's motion has been denied, they would cry delay and heap the blame at our doorstep?” asked Dalawampu.

If the defense have enough evidence to refute the prosecution's allegations, Dalawampu said the respondents would not have wasted time.

Another private prosecutor, Democrito Barcenas, said that dela Cerna was just “nitpicking on matters that are not actual causes in the delay of the case.”

Barcenas said it was actually the defense which filed numerous pleadings to derail the early conduct of the preliminary investigation.

Prosecutor Taga-an was designated as acting provincial prosecutor by Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane after the original panel of provincial prosecutors inhibited from the case.

In his order, Prosecutor Taga-an pointed out that prosecutors are mandated to resolve criminal complaints within 60 days.

Suspension

The Revised Manual for Prosecutors provides that suspension of a preliminary investigation may be allowed only where a prejudicial question arises.

Without an order from the justice secretary, the preliminary investigation of the case will continue, said Taga-an.

The prosecutor also 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.

They allegedly conspired to ambush lawyer Noel Archival, his aide Candido Miñoza, and his driver Alejandro Jayme in Dalaguete last Feb. 18.

The five policemen were relieved from their posts and are temporarily assigned at the Personnel Holding Administrative Section in Camp Crame while waiting for the results of the administrative inquiry.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 04, 2014.

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