ONE of the four women judges in the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) in Cebu will try the slight physical injuries case that lawyer Jiecel Tiu filed against the wife of Ronda Vice Mayor Jonnah John Ungab.
The case went to the sala of Judge Grace Fernandez, who presides over MTCC Branch 8, during the regular raffling of cases inside the MTCC-Office of the Clerk of Court yesterday afternoon.
The judge will conduct a summary procedure where Pearl Ungab will be directed to submit her counter-affidavit to answer the charge against her.
Atty. Tiu filed a complaint for frustrated murder last Feb. 27 before the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor accusing Pearl of frustrated murder. Tiu has also denied that she and Ungab, her former boss in the law office, had an affair.
Tiu filed the complaint the day after the vice mayor’s wife allegedly hit her Toyota Vios sedan repeatedly with a Nissan Navara pick-up, then went after her with a baseball bat.
A prosecutor, however, recommended the filing of a case of slight physical injuries, not frustrated murder. Bail is not required in the latter case, because its penalty, jail time of one to 30 days, is considered light.
After finding out who among the judges will handle the case, Rex Fernandez, Tiu’s lawyer, clarified that he and Judge Fernandez are not related.
Judge Fernandez is the younger sister of Regional Trial Court Judge Ester Veloso.
Assistant City Prosecutor Liceria Rabillas has denied Fernandez’s earlier allegation of bias, after she recommended filing a lighter case against Pearl.
Ungab, 42, president of the Vice Mayors’ League of the Philippines Cebu Chapter, has kept his silence on the issue, saying he wanted to protect his five children.
Atty. Fernandez also said yesterday that the Tiu camp’s demand for a “non-negotiable” written public apology from the vice mayor, his wife Pearl, mother Dr. Alma Ungab and brother Jonald remains.
As this case went to court, information about a separate case against the vice mayor has surfaced, this time involving a complaint filed by one of his former students in law school. That complaint, which demands child support, remains pending. Ungab has gone on leave both as vice mayor and law professor.