Three prosecutors from the Department of Justice (DOJ) got “plain mad” after three men implicated in the death of lawyer Arbet Sta. Ana-Yongco failed to submit their evidence in yesterday’s preliminary investigation.
The DOJ panel flew in from Manila, only to find out that the three members of the Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association (PBMA) did not receive the order directing them to present their counter-affidavit and other evidence.
Senior State Prosecutor Cielitolindo Luyun, in an interview, said they were also disappointed to fly back to Manila empty-handed.
Luyun and State Prosecutors Nolibien Quiam-bao and Renato Escaro compose the panel investigating the murder complaint filed in relation to Yongco’s death.
Master Sgt. Heracleo Rallestan, Nestor Carrol and Eddie Ardita are facing murder complaints after at least three witnesses tagged them as among those who helped Michel Favila Sr. in shooting Yongco last Oct. 11.
But yesterday, they said they did not receive an order directing them to file their counter-affidavit.
Favila has already been charged with murder at the Regional Trial Court.
“Had we received the order, we would have been represented by a lawyer today,” Carrol told the panel.
More than an hour later, lawyer Jose Dublin came and told the panel he would be representing Carrol and Rallestan.
Dublin asked the panel for 10 days for them to file their counter-affidavit.
Ardita did not have a lawyer in yesterday’s conference.
Because of the three PBMA members’ claim, the panel immediately summoned the records officer of the Lapu-Lapu City jail.
JO1 Warneth Buhisan, who was tasked to hand the order, told the panel that she has given the order but forgot who received it, because there were allegedly several inmates in the cell where Carrol and Rallestan were detained.
Because of the incident, the panel just asked the witnesses of the complainant to affirm their sworn statement, implicating the three PBMA members as among those who allegedly connived with Favila in killing Yongco.
The lawyer was shot in the neck and cheek in her office in Barangay Zapatera, Cebu City last Oct. 11.
The panel, with the help of the lawyers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, will be prosecuting the case against Favila and has scheduled another preliminary investigation on Feb. 2.
Jan. 20, 2005
Grecar Nilles, Sun.Star Staff Reporter