Moving Noel probe out of Cebu

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014


“The world is not a wish-granting factory.”
--Augustus Waters in “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

STRIPPED of legalism, the proposal to move the preli­minary inquiry on the murder of Cebu lawyer Noel Archival to Manila is baseless and impractical.

But the suspects, officers of the Highway Patrol Group (HPG), have the right to use devices allowed by law to resist the charges.

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Though the request may seem baseless: no evidence of incompetence or bias; if two or more prosecutors were unfit, others in the five-person panel could've corrected the flaw.

Though it may seem impractical: transporting prosecutors and evidence to Manila on mere suspicion the prosecutors sympathized with Archival.

Cebu isn't like some part of Mindanao where warlords could make the judicial trial a sham. They move their cases to Cebu but Cebu doesn't move its cases anywhere else.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) though may not see itself as a "wish-granting factory."

If suspects, on request, could shift venue of a preliminary investigation and if prosecutors, out of courtesy or “kaikug,” could shun a case where litigants don't like them, DOJ might as well leave the rules to the players.

Apparently, in this high-profile murder, not each side wants speedy resolution.

The process

DOJ has transferred the prosecutors' job to its Lapu-Lapu City office, still a no-no to HPG suspects who insist on the Manila prosecutors. Dilatory? It's allowed by legal procedure.

In less than a day's work, gunmen killed Archival and his two companions and fled. Prosecuting the suspects, alas, could take ages.

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 19, 2014.

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