Pamatong posts bail, admits knowing bomb suspects
Ramil Bajo, Rey Galupo (The Philippine Star) - September 6, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Lawyer Ely Pamatong walked out of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters yesterday after posting bail on his case of inciting to sedition at the Quezon City court.

Pamatong was arrested last Wednesday and taken into custody by the NBI.

He has also been implicated in last Monday’s foiled bombing attempt at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Pamatong in a television interview admitted knowing the three suspects arrested for the bombing attempt.

While in custody at the NBI, Pamatong reportedly visited the three suspects in detention.

Suspects Grandeur Pepito Guerrero, Emmanuel San Pedro and Sonny Yohanon have been charged with illegal possession of explosives following their alleged plot to bomb four targets that included the Chinese embassy to demonstrate their anger against China.

The NBI said the three were also planning to plant explosives in establishments owned by Chinese.

Guerrero, alias Jojo, is the alleged leader of the group. He claimed to be a general of USAFFE, the acronym of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East during World War II.

Guerrero, however, denied the charges and denied any involvement in the bombing attempt.

Guerrero claimed he was convicted by the public of terrorism and destabilization.

Pamatong, on the other hand, admitted knowing the suspects but denied ordering them to go on a bombing spree.

Pamatong is facing charges of inciting to sedition before Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 33 stemming from his statement on live television in 2004 when he threatened to burn schools if then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would not step down from office.

Pamatong ran and lost in the 2004 presidential elections and ordered his supporters to scatter steel spikes along EDSA as a form of protest.

Pamatong’s case became dormant for more than seven years after the court handling the case “inadvertently” placed it among archived cases.

Documents from the Quezon City MTC showed the case against Pamatong was only “rediscovered” in February 2013, or more than seven years after it was filed in court in January 2006.

“In the process of encoding all pending cases pursuant to the Electronic Court (e-Court) project of the Supreme Court, it was found that the record of this case was inadvertently mixed with the archived cases,” read the order of then-acting Judge Edward Pacis.

Contrary to reports, however, the inciting to sedition case was based on Pamatong’s statement that he would burn all schools in the country and not the actual scattering of spikes by his alleged supporters in EDSA.

Upon the discovery of the mix-up, Pacis immediately set the arraignment of Pamatong on Feb. 28, 2013, but he failed to appear. The arraignment was reset several times, the latest of which was scheduled on July 23, 2013.

At the time, Pacis was already appointed to a different court, with Judge Joel Socrates Lopeña taking over. Pamatong again failed to attend the arraignment due to a supposed conflict in schedule.

Instead of resetting, however, Lopeña granted the request of the public prosecutor to instead issue a warrant of arrest as the setting had been scheduled “for a long time and that the case has been pending for seven years.”

The judge set the bail at P12,000. He also ordered the case – this time with permission – to be sent to the archives until Pamatong is arrested. –Janvic Mateo, Perseus Echeminada

CASE COURT ELECTRONIC COURT EMMANUEL SAN PEDRO AND SONNY YOHANON FAR EAST GUERRERO JANVIC MATEO PAMATONG QUEZON CITY
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