Ellah’s father appeals: Treat suspect like ordinary detainee-A A +A
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
CEBU CITY -- Renante Pique arrived at the Mactan airport in Lapu-Lapu City on his motorcycle around 3 p.m. He took a break from his work as a supervisor in a fashion accessories factory.
“Sobra kamingaw…tulo gud mi kabuwan wa magkita (I miss her. We haven’t seen each other for three months),” he told reporters in jest.
Three hours later, as Bella Ruby Santos’s plane landed, joking seemed to be the last thing on Pique’s mind.
“Ganahan ko makakita niya nga posasan…basig naa nya’y special treatment (I want to see her in handcuffs…I want to make sure the authorities are not giving her special treatment),” he said.
Santos and her British boyfriend Ian Charles Griffiths are the suspects in the abduction and death of Pique’s daughter, Ellah Joy, last February outside her school in Minglanilla town. She was 6. Her body was found the next day below a cliff in Barili town.
The moment Renante saw Santos yesterday, he said he felt contented that she will be detained and will soon face trial.
Santos was walking calmly and smiling, when she arrived guarded by agents from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 and the police force’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) personnel.
She wore shades and a black bulletproof vest over her light-brown blazer. The tattoos on her legs were covered by her white slacks.
Among the escorts were NBI 7 Director Edward Villarta and agent Arnel Pura, who arrested Santos inside a mall in the Ortigas district of Metro Manila.
A length of white cloth was wrapped around Santos’s wrists, apparently to cover the cuffs. When she stepped outside the terminal door at 5:32 p.m., someone shouted from among the curious onlookers: “Kagwapa gud niya (She’s beautiful)!”
Santos was immediately placed inside the NBI 7’s van, which headed toward the regional office in Cebu City, a convoy of media vehicles tailing it.
Renante said he, too, went to the NBI office, but was not allowed to enter the agency’s premises. He said some of Santos’s supporters told him it was a good thing that his daughter was killed.
“Wa na lang ko magtingog (I didn’t answer them),” he said.
Renante said the family will oppose the defense camp’s plan to request that Santos be detained in Naga City. He said the suspect should be placed in the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) in Cebu City.
“Unfair man gud na sa uban. Daghan bayang mga piniriso sa Naga nya siya mao’y tagaan og special treatment (It’s unfair to others. The CPDRC has many prisoners from Naga…she should not be given special treatment,” he said.
Where is he?
With Santos’s arrest, part of the focus now goes toward her co-accused, British boyfriend Ian Charles Griffiths.
Santos, talking to reporters at the NBI regional headquarters last night, said she and Griffiths are still together and that the latter financed her “partying”, as she described her months in Metro Manila.
“Dili nako ma compare sa before but tungod man gud na sa situation namo karon (It’s not comparable with how we were before, but that’s because of our situation now),” she said of their relationship.
She said Griffiths is trying his best to look for money to sustain her defense in the non-bailable kidnapping with homicide case that impleads them both.
Griffiths remains in the United Kingdom, said lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo, Santos’s counsel. He is not charged with any crime there.
Villagonzalo clarified that while Griffiths was arrested in London right after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Cebu issued the warrant of arrest for him and Santos, Griffiths was released.
“He was investigated and cleared siya didto,” Villagonzalo said.
The Office of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor earlier initiated a government-to-government process in an attempt to bring Griffiths to the Philippines to stand trial here.
The request, said Provincial Prosecutor Jane Petralba in an earlier interview, is pending before the justice department’s Office of the Chief State Counsel (OCSC).
The OCSC, said a Sept. 2007 brief from the Asian Development Bank, is the Philippine Government’s “central authority” for extradition and mutual legal assistance requests on cases that don’t involve violations of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Villagonzalo doubts the bid will be successful, adding that Griffiths is represented by a “legal team” in London who is sure to oppose the bid.
Moreover, the Philippines has no extradition treaty with UK, which also has a law that allows citizens charged in a foreign land to be tried locally.
The lawyer hinted that while a government-to-government negotiation can be done, it will require “a strong case folder.”
He also cited the earlier letter of Detective Inspector Andrew Chalmers to Supt. Louie Oppus, the head of Task Force Ellah Joy, stating it has already stopped “all investigative activity” against Griffiths.
He said he is still trying to secure a copy of the letter and that they have already asked the court to issue a subpoena to compel its presentation.
Griffiths, a 50-year-old accountant residing in Southampton, was arrested in London last April 1.
The charge was for alleged violation of Section 9 of the Offences Against Persons Act, the equivalent to crimes against persons under the Philippines’ Revised Penal Code.
“When they reviewed the evidence, they found that it was not enough,” Villagonzalo claimed.
Oppus, interviewed separately, confirmed the existence of the letter but declined to comment on its contents, saying the entire issue is now before the courts. (Sun.Star Cebu)