Balintang shooting trial transferred to Manila
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the transfer from Batanes to Manila of the trial of the homicide cases filed against eight Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel tagged in the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman in 2013.

In a three-page resolution released yesterday, the high court granted the request of the PCG personnel who were charged for the death of Hung Shih-cheng off Balintang Island on May 9, 2013.

The high court ordered the Batanes regional trial court Branch 13 to forward records of the case to the executive judge of Manila.

The SC gave due course to the argument of the accused PCG men that the continued hearings of the case in Basco would be a financial burden to them and the prosecution.

It cited the need to transport evidence and witnesses of parties from Manila to Batanes during hearings.

“The prosecution would have to bring to the Philippines some of their witnesses from Taiwan and Indonesia at the expense of the Philippine government,” the SC said, adding the case is sensitive as it would affect the ties of the Philippines and Taiwan.

The petition was filed by PCG Seamen First Class (SN1) Edrando Aguila, Mhelvin Bendo II, Andy Gibb Golfo, Sunny Masangcay and Henry Solomon; SN2 Nicky Renold Aurello and Petty Officer Richard Fernandez Corpuz.

Charged along with them was their superior officer, Commander Arnold dela Cruz.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed the homicide case before the Batanes court, which has jurisdiction over Balintang Island.

The DOJ also filed charges of obstruction of justice against Dela Cruz, Bendo and SN1 Marvin Ramirez and Martin Bernabe with a Cagayan court for allegedly submitting tampered evidence to the National Bureau of Investigation.

The four allegedly gave false information on the number of bullets discharged during the shooting.

The accused surrendered and posted bail after the Batanes and Cagayan courts issued warrants for their arrest.

ANDY GIBB GOLFO BALINTANG ISLAND BATANES BATANES AND CAGAYAN COMMANDER ARNOLD DELA CRUZ DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE EDRANDO AGUILA HUNG SHIH MARVIN RAMIREZ AND MARTIN BERNABE MHELVIN BENDO
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