Hit-and-run suspect skips hearing

Jose Rodel Clapano - The Philippine Star
Hit-and-run suspect skips hearing
The hearing was reset to June 23 to give Jose Antonio Sanvicente, 31, time to submit his counter-affidavit.
The STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — Two days after holding a press conference at Camp Crame, hit-and-run suspect Jose Antonio Sanvicente did not attend a preliminary investigation hearing at the Mandaluyong prosecutor’s office yesterday.

The hearing was reset to June 23 to give Sanvicente, 31, time to submit his counter-affidavit.

Sanvicente’s lawyer Danny Macalino said it was only during yesterday’s hearing that they received a copy of security guard Christian Floralde’s complaint-affidavit.

“We cannot submit our counter-affidavit without us having a copy of the complaint,” Macalino said.

Sanvicente is accused of running over Floralde at an intersection in Mandaluyong on June 5 and fleeing the scene. He was charged with frustrated murder and abandonment of one’s own victim.

Floralde’s lawyer, Federico Biolena, expressed dismay over Sanvicente’s absence at the hearing.

Biolena said Sanvicente “cannot submit his counter-affidavit without being present before the prosecutor’s office.”

Floralde swore to the veracity of his complaint-affidavit during yesterday’s hearing, according to Biolena, who added that they “submitted pieces of evidence proving who did the crime against him.”

When asked if they would file charges of direct contempt against Sanvicente for not attending the hearing, Biolena said, “It will depend.” He did not elaborate.

Biolena and Macalino denied reports of a settlement agreement. Macalino told reporters that Sanvicente’s father, who identified himself as “Joel” during Wednesday’s press conference, simply expressed the family’s intention to help Floralde and provide him medical assistance.

No ties between Danao, Sanvicente

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police officer-in-charge Lt. Gen. Vicente Danao Jr. has no close ties with the Sanvicentes, PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said yesterday.

Fajardo said Danao only met the Sanvicentes when the suspect surrendered at Camp Crame on Wednesday.

“As far as we know our officer-in-charge does not know them personally,” Fajardo said in an interview over GMA News’ “Unang Balita.”

Critics said Sanvicente should have been placed under police custody when he surfaced in public. They also questioned why the PNP allowed him to hold a press conference at its national headquarters.

According to Fajardo, Sanvicente’s parents met with Danao with the help of an intermediary for his surrender.

As to the PNP releasing Sanvicente after the press conference, Fajardo said the suspect is no longer the subject of a warrantless arrest since considerable time has elapsed since the incident.

Retired Commission on Elections commissioner and incoming P3PWD party-list Rep. Rowena Guanzon urged the PNP yesterday to put Sanvicente in jail “like common people.”

In a tweet, Guanzon also asked why Sanvicente’s mother was seen holding Danao’s hand to her forehead, a Filipino gesture meant to show respect to one’s elders.

Guanzon said leaving the scene of a crime or an accident “is evidence of guilt,” an action that should have prompted the PNP to immediately arrest Sanvicente. –  Emmanuel Tupas, Robertzon Ramirez


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