QC solon's lover's death a case of murder, not homicide - investigator

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star


MANILA, Philippines - An investigator of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) on Thursday said the killing of the lover of former Quezon City Fourth District Rep. Nanette Castelo Daza should not have been murder and not homicide as the trial of the homicide case resumed at the Makati Regional Court Branch 145.

Taking the witness stand, NBI Investigator 4 Rizaldy Rivera of the agency’s Death Investigation Division testified during the redirect examination by prosecution lawyer Eduardo Bringas that he stands by his report dated March 30, 2012 that recommended the charge of murder instead of homicide against accused Romeo Allan Robes, son-in-law of Daza. 

Rivera, under questioning by Bringas told the court that although there were no fingerprints found on Robes’ Keltec .380 pistol, responding Quezon City policemen to the shooting at Daza’s house in Teachers Village, saw him with the pistol on hand.

 After taking him into custody, the Quezon City Police then filed a case of murder against Robes for the death of Daza’s boyfriend Noel Orate, who was then 55 when he succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds on the night of Feb. 10, 2012. 

“The absence of prints on the Keltec did not affect the NBI’s report as we also had the affidavits of policemen who saw the accused holding the gun,” said Rivera, who also admitted in court that based on an examination conducted by the police, all the guns recovered from Daza’s house tested negative for fingerprint marks.

In his investigation report, Rivera said the qualifying circumstances of treachery and abuse of superior strength attended the death of Orate.

However, the Department of Justice National Prosecution Service (NPS) later conducted a reinvestigation and affirmed the finding of the inquest proceeding conducted on Feb. 11, 2012 that concluded that the proper charge to be filed against Robes was homicide and not murder.

The reinvestigation was ordered by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 218 on the motion of Orate’s children who believe that their father was murdered on the night he had decided to end his relationship with Daza.

In concluding that only homicide was committed, the DOJ found that the killing was not attended by any of the qualifying circumstances enumerated in Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code, particularly treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength.

Daza’s family meanwhile argued that the Orate’s fatal shooting was in self defense. This was earlier contested by Bringas who said that the elements needed for self-dense should include the presence of unlawful aggression and the means employed is sufficient. He added that there was no unlawful aggression as Orate was the one summoned to the Daza house.

The case against Robes was later downgraded to homicide and was transferred to the Makati court last January on orders from the Supreme Court which granted a request by Orate’s family for a transfer of venue.

Last July, Bringas sent a three-page letter to the SC court administrator Midas Marquez for the transfer of venue of the case to prevent a miscarriage of justice noting that the Castelo political clan is very powerful in Quezon City. 

The court scheduled the next hearing on May 28 and ordered Rivera to again take the witness stand for recross examination by the defense lawyers.











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