BACOLOD

Moises Padilla vice mayor, husband face arrest

MOISES Padilla, Negros Occidental town vice mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo and her husband, Felix Mathias Segundo Yulo III face two arrest warrants for illegal possession of explosives and firearms.

Chief Inspector Edfel Balibadlan, town police chief said the La Carlota City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 63 Judge Cyclamen Jison-Fernandez issued the arrest warrant on August 20 with no bail recommended against the couple for violation of Section 3 of Republic Act (RA) 9516 or the illegal possession of explosives.

Another arrest warrant was issued by the same judge against the couple for RA 10591 or Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. The court had set a bail of P200,000 each for their provisional liberty.

Balibadlan said they were informed about the warrants on Friday.

He said they went to the couple's house on that same day to serve the arrest warrants but they were not there.

We can still serve the arrest warrants to them anywhere, Balibadlan said.

The couple’s lawyer, Karol Joseph Chiu, said they have not yet received the warrants of arrest.

"If there is one, it does not mean that my clients are already guilty of the charges against them," Chiu said.

He said his clients are entitled to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

“We still have a pending petition for review before the Department of Justice (DOJ) and we are also contemplating of filing a motion for bail,” he added.

If the police failed to serve the warrants within 10 days, they will return it to the court and the latter will issue an alias warrant for the couple, Balibadlan said.

In December 2017, the couple was arrested at Crossing Magallon in a police checkpoint led by Senior Inspector Allan Reloj, former Moises Padilla town police chief, which resulted to the alleged confiscation of two fragmentation grenades and several other firearms and alleged illegal drugs.

However, the drugs were later found to be "fake" after it was closely examined at the Provincial Crime Laboratory.

Early this year, acting Provincial Prosecutor Rodrigo Diaz said they have found reasonable grounds to charge the couple for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Both the vice mayor and her husband were also charged with direct assault upon a person in authority, but they were able to post bail amounting to P12,000 each in April this year.

Garcia-Yulo, meanwhile, has also filed a counter-affidavit following her arrest last year, claiming the allegations are based “purely on highly malicious, erroneous and fabricated accusations.”

She also questioned the legality of the checkpoint and subsequent search, claiming she was forcibly dragged out of her vehicle and handcuffed.


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