Arraignment for King suspects moved anew

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Friday, August 29, 2014


THE three men accused in the murder of Cebu-based businessman Richard Lim King are set to appear and answer the charges filed against them before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) two months from now.

Charged with murder were Paul Dave Labang, 24, the alleged triggerman; Rommel dela Cerna, 39, a police asset; and his brother Rodel dela Cerna, a motorcycle driver, all are said to be workers at the Laud Firing Range in Maa in Davao City.

Judge Evalyn Arellano-Morales, of the RTC Branch 17, rescheduled the arraignment of the three accused on October 2, 2014 instead of August 29 at 8:30 a.m. following the absence of Lawyer Ben Joseph Tesiorna, who is the legal counsel for the accused. Tesiorna is on sick leave.

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Arellano-Morales also decided to reschedule the arraignment following the manifestation of the public prosecutor Carlos Castaños that the investigation on the former Regional Intelligence Unit-Davao head Superintendent Leonardo Felonia is not yet done. Private Prosecutor Deolito Alvarez had no objections.

Tesiorna, in a phone interview, confirmed that he has a fever.

"I was informed of the schedule -- ako ay kasalukuyan nagpapagaling para makabalik na rin sa trabaho. We opted to wait for the resolution of the investigation about Felonia para tuloy-tuloy na kami sa arraignment on October," he said.

Felonia was implicated in the murder after he was cited in the extrajudicial confessions of the accused as the person who ordered the hit and offered a P120,000 bounty. His case was filed through regular filing procedure as he was not arrested.

The murder case against Felonia is currently being investigated and is yet to be resolved by a prosecutor Panfilo Lovitos. The police officer is now under the restrictive custody of the Regional Intelligence Unit in Camp Crame.

Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima issued a lookout bulletin order against Felonia dated July 23, 2014 and ordered the Bureau of Immigration to be also on alert for the accused on the event that he should pass through immigration counters in any ports in the country.

Lawyer Caesar Europa, a legal counsel of Felonia, assured that his client will not leave the country. He said the lookout bulletin does not really matter because his client has no plans of leaving the country.

Meanwhile, members of the Regional Special Investigation Task Group are still conducting their investigation in the killing of the businessman as the mastermind of the crime is still at large.

Labang and the Dela Cerna brothers are now detained at the Davao City Police Office.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 30, 2014.

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