Judge junks Matobato's request to cancel arraignment

THE presiding judge of Municipal Trial Court in Cities Silverio Mandalupe denied the request of Matobato's counsel to cancel the arraignment scheduled on Thursday, as he also ordered to issue another warrant of arrest against self-proclaimed Davao Death Squad (DDS) member Edgar Matobato.

Mandalupe favored the comment of the prosecution Thursday over the request of cancellation of the arraignment filed by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio, Matobato's legal counsel.

The prosecution said that the arraignment could not be cancelled since the accused is not sure whether the Supreme Court will grant the petition to transfer the hearing of the illegal possession of firearms case filed against Matobato last 2014.

Sabio initially filed the petition saying that Matobato could not appear in court for security reasons, also citing that the Supreme Court has yet to decide his petition for transfer of the case.

The prosecution also countered the claim of the accused that his life is in danger in Davao City due to the influence of President Rodrigo Duterte who has more power now than when he was mayor.

Sabio, in an interview with SunStar Davao, said that he was dismayed with the ruling of the judge but he respects it.

"Nadismaya ko, kay gamay lang man to kaayo na request unta na i-reset lang ang arraignment ug i-grant ni judge. Strikto jud siya gusto niya ipadayon ang arraignment unya dili man pwede kay naa paman mi hangyo na ipabalhin ang venue sa kaso paingon sa Manila. Wala man niya pag-bigyi (I am dismayed because it is but a simple request, just for the arraignment to be reset and be granted by the Judge. He is really very strict and he wanted the arraignment to proceed but that cannot be since we still have a pending request from the Supreme Court to transfer the arraignment in Manila. He did not grant it)," Sabio said.

Sabio said that the client is in a safe house in Manila.

"Natural wala namo siya dad-a kay mamiligro man ang iyang kinabuhi maobitaw nang gipa-transfer nato ang venue sa Manila unta (It is natural that we did not bring him here for his life is in danger and this is also the reason why we requested the transfer of the hearing venue to Manila)," he said.

Sabio also said that he is set to file a motion for reconsideration before the court to withdraw the issuance of the warrant with P60,000 bail bond.

"I-reconsider niya ang iyang order kay harsh rapud kaayo first time pud ni karon namaghangyo mi na i-reset ang venue, wala man mi iingon na i-cancel ang arraignment ang amo lang kay i-reset lang sa, natagaan panahon ang Supreme Court kung naa bay basehan ang transfer sa venue sa Manila (We will ask for him to consider, for it is only harsh on our part for this is the first time that we asked for the reset of the arraignment, we did not say that the arraignment be cancelled, what we want is for the court to give Supreme Court more time to decide whether the transfer of the venue in Manila has legal basis)," Sabio said.

Sabio said that if the Supreme Court denies their petition they will be forced to bring Matobato in Davao City but since there is no denial yet, the SC should be given enough time to study the petition.

Prosecutor Joy Largo, meanwhile, said in an interview with SunStar Davao, that the order of the judge to issue another warrant forfeits the P30,000 bond posted by the camp of Matobato in Quezon City Regional Trial Court last October 14.

With the decision, the accused is set to file another bond.

Largo said that the request of the accused to file the cancellation or deferment of the arraignment of the case is not reasonable since the accused also signed in his undertaking when he posted bail that he will appear in court with the scheduled date and time.
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