THE five Cagayan de Oro City policemen who were accused of kidnapping Enrique Fernandez III in October 2016 will have to remain behind bars following the court’s decision to deny their petition for bail.
The victim, who was taken outside a condotel, remains missing, his family said.
In a resolution dated March 7 and signed by Judge Emmanuel Pasal, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38 denied the application of the accused for discretionary bail.
"From the evidence presented, evidence of guilt is strong for the kidnapping charge. The application for discretionary bail is therefore denied,"the resolution reads.
The accused, Senior Inspector Ereneo Ramirez, Police Officer 3 Alejandro Ubanan, Senior Police Officer 2 Jojo Lim, Senior Police Officer 1 Alaindelon Tacubao and Police Officer 2 Sangkula Hussein asked the court to grant them bail last December 1, 2016.
Their two alleged accomplices, Federico Guevarra and Rolando Udasco, also filed the same petition last February 2, 2017.
The five policemen are accused of kidnapping and carnapping while the two alleged cohorts are facing kidnapping charges only.
During the summary hearings, the prosecution presented their witnesses and showed the court a footage of the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) camera where the suspects were seen to have allegedly kidnapped the victim outside the Uptown Condotel in Upper Balulang, this city.
The defense, on the other hand, presented their own witness.
However, the court resolves that the CCTV footage is compelling and strong evidence of the alleged kidnapping as it clearly showed the accused policemen forced the alleged victim into a white car.
The resolution said no evidence was submitted for the offense of carnapping.
"The court is not required to balance the evidence for the prosecution in relation to that of the defense in a bail hearing but simply to determine if the evidence for the prosecution is strong,"the resolution said.
"This being a bail hearing, evidence that will sustain a conviction is not required. Indeed, the proceedings is primarily summary where the court is only required to make a preliminary assessment of the available evidence,"the resolution adds.
Lawyer Rey Raagas, member of the prosecution panel, said the court resolution is not yet the decision of guilt or innocence of the accused but a finding that the evidence of guilt is strong enough to deny the application for bail.
He said the evidence produced in the bail hearing will automatically be reproduced and incorporated during the main trial.
Raagas said the main trial is set for May 8.
"We are thankful that the court fully appreciated the strength of the prosecution's evidence in resolving to deny the application for bail," Raagas said.
"As we await the main trial, we are also hopeful for a final disposition of the case that fully serves the ends of justice both for our outraged society and for the victim's suffering family," he added.