PROSECUTOR Mary Ann Castro and six others will be tried for allegedly conspiring to destroy public property and attacking police officers this week.

State Prosecutor Simaco Labata yesterday found enough evidence to charge Castro and her six companions, four men and two women, with two counts of direct assault and malicious mischief.

He dismissed, for lack of evidence, the complaints for grave oral defamation, grave coercion, and resistance and disobedience to a person in authority.

Last Monday night, Castro allegedly led the group in destroying the door of a police office, where her estranged husband’s live-in partner, Maricel Raffinan Gregory, was staying.

She denied harassing Gregory, whom she had sued for libel over a Facebook post that accused her of stealing a vehicle. “It is not in my character to be violent,” Castro said yesterday.

Out on bail

She was released after posting P34,000 as bail late yesterday afternoon. Her six co-accused, however, spent the night in the Cebu City Jail after they ran out of time to post bail.

A high-ranking official of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said that the police will not settle their cases against Castro and her companions.

Ang korte na’y mo-determine ana (It’s the court that will determine that),” said Senior Supt. Rey Lyndon Lawas, the deputy regional director for operations.

Castro has accused the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) in Central Visayas of trying to hide Gregory last Monday night. The latter has two children with Castro’s estranged husband, Leodegreco Sanchez, and is about four months pregnant with their third child.


“The suspect was not detained in a detention cell, but stayed in the lobby. An arrested person should be booked or blottered,” Castro told reporters.

Gregory, she added, stayed in the RSOG 7’s reception area while eating with some police officers.

“Instead of protecting the complainant, they are protecting the accused,” said Castro. She plans to file counter-charges against some police officers.

She allegedly instructed one of the four men with her to destroy the door to the office where Gregory, with her two children, tried to hide.

When policemen tried to arrest her, the prosecutor allegedly attacked the authorities (biting one officer in the arm) and “seriously disobeyed” the police, said Labata.

Before Labata issued the resolution, he conducted inquest proceedings past 10 a.m. yesterday.


A brief ruckus occurred when Castro refused to be handcuffed by the police. She and her co-accused stayed inside her cubicle in the Cebu City prosecutor’s office until Labata resolved the complaints yesterday afternoon.

Castro’s six alleged cohorts are facing cases of direct assault.

They are Jonas Borces Niñez, 30; Leo Esquivel Suaso, 42; William Segundino Contamina, 27; Benjielito Hoyoa Lapera, 29; Gaudiosa Arivado Rodrigo, 53; and Hazel Niluag Mabuuyo, 39.

In yesterday’s interview, Castro said she couldn’t sleep while detained in the Fuente Police Station.

“I watched over them (her companions). I was stressed but I have to find strength so they could also draw strength from me. I am their friend. They all relied on me. We are neighbors,” said Castro.

Also yesterday, Cebu Regional Trial Court Judge Gilbert Moises dismissed the habeas corpus petition that Castro had filed against the police.

After a summary hearing, Judge Moises ruled that the filing of the case in court validated Castro and her companions’ arrest.


The police’s lawyer, Inocencio dela Cerna, said before the petition was dismissed that Castro had been given due respect inside the police headquarters.

However, he said, the prosecutor abused her authority.

Jonah John Ungab, Castro’s lawyer, pointed out that Castro was placed inside a detention cell, while Gregory was allowed to stay in a reception area.

Castro said she will file counter-charges against the RSOG personnel, adding that the police hurt her and some of her companions.

Before she was brought to the prosecutor’s office, police carried Castro on a stretcher from the detention cell of Police Station 2 toward an ambulance.

When asked by reporters if the PRO 7 will ask for a public apology from Castro, Lawas said they will not go for it.

“It’s up to her,” he said. “It’s not actually the PNP ang nangayo og respeto kay ang opisina is a government office. It speaks of the people. So, ang nangayo og respeto ang katawhan (It’s not the police, but the people, who are asking for respect).”


The police also planned to lodge administrative complaints against Castro.

“Nobody is exempted from the law,” said Lawas.

Castro’s latest controversy inspired some social media users to include the hashtag #MaryAnneSerye in their posts about the prosecutor.

Chief Supt. Manuel Gaerlan, the PRO 7 acting director, said they will face the complaints and extend legal assistance to the affected personnel.

“We expect that this will be a prolonged legal battle considering we filed a complaint against a prosecutor,” he said.

Castro, who spent two nights in the detention cell, accused the police of failing to read her rights under the Miranda Doctrine when they arrested her.

Lawas said he “respects” Castro’s claim that her rights were violated, but also added, “Unsaon na man lang ang katungod pud sa atong kapulisan (What about the rights of our police officers)? Dili pud ba angay respetoan (Should they not be respected, too)? If you would like to be respected, also respect the rights of other people.”