Arraignment set July 25 for King's slay suspects

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014


THE three suspects linked to the murder of Cebuano businessman Richard
Lim King are set to appear before the sala of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Davao City Branch 17 for their arraignment on July 25.

RTC Branch 17 presiding judge Evalyn Morales, in her order dated July 8, has scheduled the arraignment of respondents Paul Dave Molina Labang and siblings Rommel and Rodel dela Cerna on July 25 at 8:30 a.m. to determine whether the suspects will enter a guilty or not guilty plea to the murder of King.

The scheduling of the arraignment has somehow became a positive turnout for the respondents' lawyer Behn Joseph Tesiorna who asked the court, in an omnibus motion dated July 7, to schedule an arraignment since his clients are set to apply for a witness protection program.

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"The accused intend to apply under the witness protection program of the Department of Justice (DOJ) as state witness thus, making it imperative that their arraignment be held in abeyance otherwise they would no longer qualify under the witness protection program," the motion read.

In another development, Morales also granted the request of Tesiorna to retain the dela Cernas within the custody of the Davao City Police Office Investigation and Detection Management (DCPO-IDMB) as well.

Last week, Tesiorna filed a motion before RTC Branch 17 requesting Labang to be detained at the DCPO-IDMB after the latter feared that his life may be in danger after implicating former Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU)-11 head Supt. Leonardo Felonia in his extrajudicial confession. Morales granted the motion and issued a commitment order to allow the DCPO-IDMB to retain Labang during the pendency of his illegal possession of firearms case.

Tesiorna was then compelled to file a separate motion to include the Dela Cernas as they too have the same worries after they have also tagged Felonia in their extrajudicial confessions.

But Morales clarified that she has not scheduled the arraignment due to the motion of Tesiorna but she only granted the request to retain the respondents within the custody of the IDMB.

"In support of the subject motion, the three accused alleged, among other things, that they are in constant fear for their lives considering that they had implicated a police superintendent as the one who hired them to kill the late Richard King; that all herein accused intend to apply as state witnesses to this case and that they had executed extrajudicial confessions with regard to this case. The court finds that subject omnibus motion to be partially impressed with merit as regards only to the accused's prayer for the IDMB to retain custody over their during the pendency of this case and is hereby granted," Morales' order read.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 09, 2014.

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