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Joavan case witness says Mayor offered complainants money, work

CEBU, Philippines – The father of one of the men allegedly beaten by Joavan Fernandez, the adopted son of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez, and his friends, testified that the other complainants who executed an affidavit of desistance were summoned by the mayor and given money and a job with the Talisay City government.

Oscar Abellana is the father of Osbert, who, along with his cousin Winston Abellana, was allegedly mauled by Joavan and five of his friends last October after a car sent for repairs to their vulcanizing shop by the mayor was found missing a spare tire.

Oscar said he heard from the 10-year-old daughter of Merceditha Abellana, Winston’s mother and Oscar’s sister-in-law, that she went to the office of Mayor Fernandez together with Jimmy Abellana to get money.

Oscar said he went to the house of Merceditha to confirm what his brother, Rolando, told him that she already withdrew the complaint against Joavan. Oscar said it was at Merceditha’s house where the girl told him that her mother went to City Hall.

Lawyer George Bragat objected to the testimony of Oscar on the ground that the testimony was hearsay and derogatory to the mayor, but Regional Trial Court judge Manuel Patalinghug ruled that the matter will be left to the court’s appreciation.

Patalinghug yesterday ordered for the resumption of the trial of the merits on the case on May 12 as both parties submitted the application for bail for resolution. 

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The court also granted yesterday the motion of Mark Perez, one of Joavan’s co-accused, to go to the hospital to have his fractured arm checked.

Osbert and Winston, earlier filed two counts serious illegal detention and physical injuries against Joavan and five of his friends after they allegedly kidnapped and mauled the Abellana cousins over the missing spare tire.

Winston, however, allegedly withdrew his complaint after being given P20,000 and a job at the Talisay City Hall, but Osbert refused to drop the case. 

The RTC will resume next week the trial on the merits of the criminal case for serious illegal detention against Joavan and his five friends. – Fred P. Languido/BRP (THE FREEMAN)

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