JOAVAN Fernandez, son of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez, is free again after his latest run-in with the law.
Jonathan and Irene Ignacio, whom Joavan allegedly threatened at gunpoint during a traffic accident last week, will not pursue the criminal charges they filed against the latter.
They’d rather settle the case amicably, charging to experience their near-death encounter with Joavan.
“It was merely a result of a simple misunderstanding and has already been settled amicably, for which reason we are no longer interested to pursue the aforementioned criminal complaint,” read their one-page affidavit.
They asked for the dismissal of the three cases they filed against him: attempted homicide, reckless imprudence resulting in physical injuries and damage to property.
The Talisay City Prosecutor’s Office received past 1 p.m. yesterday the couple’s affidavit of desistance, which was subscribed and sworn to before Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Napoleon Alburo of the City of Naga, Cebu.
Sun.Star Cebu learned it was not the Ignacios who personally submitted their affidavit. A Talisay City Hall employee reportedly handed in the affidavit of desistance.
In an interview with radio dyLA yesterday, Talisay City Prosecutor Marshall Rubia said Joavan still has 10 working days to file his counter-affidavit to answer questions the Ignacio couple raised in their first affidavit.
He said that despite the notice of desistance, the court has yet to determine whether there is probable cause to put Joavan on trial.
As to reports the Ignacios didn’t personally deliver the affidavit, Rubia said the prosecutor’s office will also determine whether the notice of desistance is authentic.
“If it is established that the complainants were threatened or even paid in making their desistance, that would matter,” he said.
He said they will summon the Ignacios to authenticate the affidavit.
The Ignacios are residents of Barangay Inayagan, City of Naga.
Past 3 a.m. last Feb. 5, the couple was on their way to Cebu City on their motorcycle when Joavan, who was driving his red Isuzu Bighorn, allegedly overtook them and made a quick right turn at the Lawaan-Pook intersection.
That caused the motorbike to slam into the Bighorn’s right side.
The impact threw Irene off, while the vehicle’s tires nearly ran over Jonathan and his motorcycle.
But instead of coming to their aid, Joavan allegedly pulled out his handgun, pointed it at the couple, and yelled in Cebuano: “Don’t you know who I am? I am the mayor’s son. Talisay is my turf.”
Three traffic policemen have been relieved and placed under investigation for failing to confiscate Joavan’s handgun or impound the vehicle. They only seized his driver’s license.
The Bighorn was the same vehicle Joavan drove when he was arrested for alleged possession of an unlicensed firearm and illegal drugs by the Highway Patrol Group near the Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Lapu-Lapu City last September.
Joavan’s latest trouble renewed calls for Mayor Fernandez to have him confined in a rehabilitation center.
Former Provincial Board member Raul Bacaltos said that last week’s trouble could have been avoided had Fernandez heeded the advice of Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas (Cebu Province, 1st district) to send Joavan to a rehabilitation facility.
Bacaltos is contesting the reelection bid of Fernandez in the May 10 polls.
Joavan was detained twice at the Talisay City Rehabilitation and Detention Center in the mountain barangay of Maghaway.
His first confinement stemmed from the alleged shooting to death of jeepney driver Panfilo Barinque in Barangay Cansojong in 2006. The case did not prosper after witnesses, including Barinque’s wounded jeep conductor, desisted.
Joavan returned to jail in connection with the mauling and serious illegal detention of two vulcanizing shop boys in Barangay Tabunok in 2008. He is currently out on bail.