NEGROS Island Region (NIR) top drug suspect Ricky Serenio is seeking a reinvestigation on his illegal possession of explosives case.
In a three-page motion filed before the Regional Trial Court Branch 54 presided by Judge Eduardo Sayson in Bacolod City on Monday, Serenio prayed that the court will direct the investigating prosecutor to reinvestigate the case and set a reasonable amount of bail.
He further prayed for such other reliefs and remedies as may be deemed just and proper in the premises.
In the motion, Serenio said he was “not able to participate, air his side and properly defend himself” in the preliminary investigation before the Prosecutor because of “threats to his life and family.”
“As a result, accused was scared, confused, and disoriented and failed to file his counter-affidavit therein,” the motion said.
Serenio, who is believed to be the bagman of Berya drug group, was arrested on January 8 at Talisay City when he was served with warrant for grave coercion. Police recovered from his possession a .45 caliber pistol with magazine containing five live ammunition and a fragmentation grenade.
In his sworn affidavit, he linked several high-ranking policemen and other local enforcers in the illegal drug trade.
Serenio, in his motion, stated that he did not have lawyer at that time as he was “busy helping President Duterte in his fight against drugs,” as he executed an affidavit on January 13, detailing how police officials and other law enforcers were involved in the drug trade.
Due to his failure to participate in the preliminary investigation, he was “unable to point out the glaring, crucial, and significant inadequacies and inconsistencies in the sworn statements of complainant witnesses,” he said.
He added that he was not the owner of the pistol and grenade, as claimed by the two police-complainants.
The motion said that reinvestigation is proper if the substantial rights of the accused would be impaired, stressing that Serenio’s rights were impaired.
Serenio is “languishing in jail, deprived of his freedom of mobility and right to travel, for a crime that, as established by evidence, he has no direct participation in,” the motion said.
It added that it is the duty of the court to direct the prosecutor to conduct reinvestigation because it is imperative upon the fiscal or judge “to relieve the accused from the pain of going through a trial once it is ascertained that the evidence is insufficient to sustain a prima facie case or that no probable cause exists to form a sufficient belief as to the guilt of the accused.”
The motion pointed out that the court is “not bound” by the recommendation of the investigating prosecutor as it must make an independent assessment of the strength or weakness of Serenio’s guilt.
It also stressed that Serenio must be allowed to post bail, even if his motion for reinvestigation is denied, “since it is already apparent that evidence of his guilt is not strong,” the motion added.
Serenio was put under the custody of Moises Padilla Mayor Magdaleno Peña, a Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency consultant, and his son, Pulupandan Mayor Miguel Peña. He is now detained at Pulupandan Municipal Police Station.
Extension of protective custody
In another motion, Serenio is seeking an extension of his custody under the two mayors, which ended Monday.
The motion was filed before Bacolod RTC Branch 54 on February 10.
Serenio said he fears for his life and the safety of his family because the rogue policemen or the drug syndicates that he mentioned on his affidavit “will surely try to kill me or my family.”
He said that he had been safe in the custody of the Peñas from January 12 up to the present.
The court has yet to rule on Serenio’s motion for extension of protective custody as the judge was on leave since February 8 and is expected to return on the 23rd or 24th yet.