THE two police assets accused in the October 23, 2016 kidnapping of Enrique Fernandez III have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping when they faced the court for arraignment Monday, January 23.
Lawyer Rey Raagas, a member of the prosecution panel, said suspects Federico Guevarra and Rolando Udasco appeared in court and pleaded not guilty for kidnapping Fernandez who remains missing three months after he was allegedly abducted by five Cagayan de Oro City policemen.
Carnapping charges against Guevarra and Udasco were also dropped after the prosecution found no probable cause against the two.
The hearing for the petition for bail filed by the five accused policemen was moved to a later date.
Raagas said the bail hearing was reset after the legal counsel of Police Senior Inspector Ereneo Ramirez, Police Officer 3 (PO3) Alejandro Ubanan, Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Jojo Lim, SPO1 Alaindelon Tacubao and PO2 Sangkula Hussein, manifested their intent to file a motion for consolidation to fuse the carnapping and kidnapping cases into one court.
Raagas said the prosecution agreed for the consolidation since facts and circumstances of the charges were all the same.
“Hopefully naa na dayon order sa Branch 41 nga i-unload ang carnapping case ug ibalhin sa Branch 21 aron mausa sa kidnapping kay para convenient sa tanan aron dili mahasol ang partido (Hopefully there will be an order from Branch 41 to unload the carnapping case and transfer it to Branch 21 to fuse with kidnapping so it's convenient for both parties),” Raagas said.
Raagas said the two cases were filed in separate courts after the carnapping case went through a separate preliminary investigation while the kidnapping case was resolved through inquest proceedings 36 hours after the five policemen were arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation.
Raagas also said both parties agreed that the oral testimony of the digital video recorder technician who extracted the video recording from the CCTV will be in the form of a judicial affidavit, which will then be subject for cross examination.
“Among isulat into question and answer form ang testimony sa technician (We will write the technician's testimony in question and answer form) subject for cross examination),” Raagas said.
Raagas said the prosecution’s witnesses and evidences will be presented during the bail hearing on February 20 and they are confident that the evidences and the testimonies of witnesses are strong.
“Dili lang nako pangunahan ang korte pero basi sa mga ebidensya, confident kami nga pwede ma deny ang ilang bail petition (I won't speak ahead of the court but based on our evidence, we are confident that they can be denied of bail petition),” Raagas said.
Should the court deny the bail petition, evidences and witnesses presented during the bail hearing will be part of the whole trial of the case.
“Dili man kinahanglan i-present tanan ebidensya igo lang ta magpresent nga lig-ong ang ebidensya. Ang uban ebidensya didto na i-present sa pagpadayon sa kaso (We don't need to present all evidence, just a few strong ones. We will present the other evidence as the case proceeds)," Raagas added.