CEBU CITY (Updated) -- Joavan Fernandez beamed after hearing the acquittal verdict Wednesday afternoon (May 25).
But instead of getting his acquittal documents, Joavan was escorted by prison guards back to his detention cell.
Although found not guilty of direct assault, Joavan will remain in jail to serve his prison term of up to 50 years for illegal possession of firearms and an explosive in 2013, during an election gun ban.
Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 6 Judge Pamela Baring-Uy on Wednesday acquitted Joavan of direct assault because prosecutor failed to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
“It is incumbent on the prosecution to prove that the crime charged had been committed and that the accused precisely committed the same. The proof against the accused must survive the test of reason,” read Baring-Uy’s 11-page decision.
The Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor indicted Joavan for malicious mischief and direct assault for ramming his vehicle into their mobile patrol car that Chief Insp. George Ylanan was riding, while chasing him.
Ylanan, former chief of the Cebu City Police Office’s Investigation and Detective Management Branch, was after Joavan to serve an arrest warrant for another case at that time.
In the decision, Judge Baring-Uy ruled that Joavan is not guilty of the direct assault. The judge pointed out that Ylanan and his group were not armed with an arrest warrant when they conducted the “joint operation” against the adopted son of the former Talisay City mayor.
Likewise, the judge said Joavan did not deliberately ram the police’s vehicle. He did so to evade arrest.
“It is a common occurrence for members of the police force to experience and be faced with unruly, disrespectful and rude individuals everywhere, whether in the performance of their official duties or in their personal capacities,” said Baring-Uy.
Last Tuesday, Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras found Joavan guilty of violating all three cases filed against him.
Joavan will be transferred to the Leyte Regional Prison in Abuyog, Southern Leyte.
Peras sentenced Joavan to spend 20 to 40 years in jail for illegal possession of an explosive.
Joavan was also meted an additional prison term of four to six years for illegal possession of a firearm and up to four more years for violating an election-period gun ban.
Last March this year, Judge Ester Veloso convicted Joavan and his five friends for serious illegal detention. The other convicts are Teodoro Ligaray, Benedeck Gabasa, Mark Perez, Leoniver Singson and Roland Perez.
Apart from jail term of nine to 20 years, Veloso also ordered the convicts to pay the victims Winston and Osbert Abellana P150,000 for moral and exemplary damages. The Abellanas are cousins who worked in the same vulcanizing shop.