THE Office of the Provincial Prosecutor has recommended the dismissal of complaints for grave coercion, planting of evidence and violation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) gun ban against Dumanjug Mayor Efren Guntrano “Gun-gun” Gica and his brother Vice Mayor Erwin “Wado” for lack of probable cause.
The fiscal office also recommended the filing of an information for serious illegal detention only against Vice Mayor Erwin and two other respondents in a “court of competent jurisdiction.”
The nine-page resolution approved by Provincial Prosecutor Ludivico Vistal Cutaran and signed by Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Reina Carmel Rivas dated Jan. 6, 2020, stated that “the complaint for serious physical injuries is deemed absorbed in the crime of serious illegal detention, being an element of the same.”
SunStar Cebu tried to reach Mayor Efren for comment, but got no response.
A string of criminal complaints was filed against the Gica brothers for allegedly hitting a worker from the rival political party on May 11, 2019.
At that time, Mayor Efren was seeking reelection while his brother was an incumbent municipal councilor vying for the vice mayoralty seat.
In a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman dated May 22, 2019, a certain Hector Quirante from Barangay Ilaya in Dumanjug accused the Gica brothers of committing serious physical injury, serious illegal detention, grave coercion, planting of evidence and violatinf the Comelec gun ban.
Quirante said he was hired by the group of Dumanjug mayoral bet Cesar Baricuatro as a driver to transport food, supplies and personnel in connection with the May 13 elections.
In separate counter-affidavits, the Gica brothers said the “allegations of complainant did not state that the acts were part of a concerted effort.” “In any case, not all respondents could be indicted for serious illegal detention. To hold other persons of the action of one, conspiracy must be proven. Perusing complainant’s allegations, respondent Guntrano was not at the area when he was dragged to the vehicle and brought to the Gica compound,” reads a portion of the resolution. (RTF)