Cebu News

Cops linked in Archival slay ask: Stop inquiry until DOJ decides

Niña S. Abenoja and Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - After they asked the Department of Justice to take over their case, the Regional Highway Patrol Unit-7 officials tagged in the killing of lawyer Noel Archival are asking the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office to hold investigation until the DOJ rules on their request.

“It is humbly prayed of, in the interest of justice and fair play, that the proceedings herein for the conduct of preliminary investigation be deferred and held in abeyance, pending the outcome and resolution of the request,” reads the motion to defer the proceedings filed by Senior Superintendent Romualdo Iglesia, Senior Inspector  Joselito Lerion, Chief Inspector Eduardo Mara, Senior Police Officer 4 Edwin Galan, and PO1 Alex Bacani.

They are facing multiple murder and frustrated murder charges. 

Provincial prosecution chief Pepita Jane Petralba earlier said her office will continue investigating the complaints filed by the National Bureau of Investigation against the RHPU officials unless the DOJ orders otherwise or if the parties in the case file a motion to this effect. 

The RHPU officials asked the DOJ to take over the investigation of their case claiming they cannot get justice here because of the influence that Noel’s brother, Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival wields.

But the family of Archival is apparently not in favor of the idea that the DOJ shall take over the investigation of the case.

“Kami na ang nasakitan nga na wa si Noel, pagastuhon pa ‘mi niya padung sa Manila, which is burden namo. Mora mi og iyang giduot og taman sa ginhawa bitaw,” Councilor Nestor Archival lamented, referring to lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna.

Councilor Archival said he will be sending a letter to DOJ to formalize his request, saying that the request of lawyer Dela Cerna is unfair to the family of Archival.

He further complained that transferring the case to Manila would also mean bringing and spending for the five witnesses.

Councilor Archival said his mere position as a city councilor does not, in any way, affect the fate of the five HPG-7 officials implicated in the case, as indicated by the suspects’ legal counsel.

“City konsehal ra intawon ko,” he said.

He said he was not even around when Councilor Gerardo Carillo rendered during a regular session a privilege speech condemning the killing, which was made into a resolution that was eventually approved by the Council.

Councilor Archival said the suspects’ lawyer is apparently delaying the case.

“For me iyang gi-delay. Ngano man? Klaro kaayo na ang iyang kliyente mao’y nagpatay kang Noel. Ang akong hangyo, I mean, let’s do this in a fair way,” the councilor said.

He added that his brother was killed in Cebu so the hearing of the case should not be done elsewhere but here.

Yesterday, the NBI submitted additional evidence against the RHPU officials, including a the sworn statement of Eillen Cosep, second supplemental sworn statement of  Joseph Balingcasag, joint affidavit of agent Edgardo Baldemos and PO3 Norman Anos, sworn statement of  Wifred Libaton, additional photos and the forensic report.

 NBI-7 director Max Salvador said the filing of the additional evidences before the prosecutor’s office is part of their continuing investigation of the case.

 Also yesterday, the RHPU officials’ lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, filed before the court a supplemental motion to quash the search warrant the NBI used to search the impounding area of RHPU, which led to the discovery of the vehicle reportedly used by the suspects during the ambush.

 â€œThough while the search warrant properly described the documents to be search as documents pertaining and limited to establishing the identity and registration of the motor vehicles, yet, the officers enforcing the search, unduly went beyond the scope of their authority, and seized the logbook of the security guards of the impounding area, which were not documents proving the registration and identity of the subject motor vehicles,” the motion reads.

The RHPU officials argued that the lone survivor, Paolo Cortes, failed to categorically state the plate numbers of the vehicles, which were subject of the search warrant. They also reportedly have evidence that they were in another place when Archival was killed in Dalaguete town on February 18.

Archival and the two other victims, Candido Miñoza and Alejandro Jayme, were driving from Dumaguete City where Archival attended a hearing of a robbery case as counsel for the defendant. — (FREEMAN)










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