Cebu News

Archival slay suspects get nod to obtain warrant doc

Mylen P. Manto - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The court has granted the request of Regional Highway Patrol Unit -7 policemen tagged in the killing of lawyer Noel Archival to secure copies of the search warrant and the accompanying relevant documents.

They were also given five more days to file additional evidence to their motion to quash the warrant, which caused the discovery of “evidence” against them.

Among other considerations, Regional Trial Court Executive Judge Soliver Peras approved last July 31 the motion for reconsideration filed by Senior Superintendent Romualdo Iglesia, Senior Inspector Joselito Lerion, Chief Inspector Eduardo Mara, SPO4 Edwin Galan, and PO1 Alex Bacani to enable them to “file an intelligent motion to quash.”

“In the interest of justice and to enable respondents’ counsel to file an intelligent motion to quash search warrant and to afford them due process, this court hereby resolves to grant the motion for reconsideration filed by the respondents to obtain copies of the application for search warrant, disposition of witnesses, and annexes thereof,”  said Peras, in his order.

He also gave the respondents five days to file a supplemental motion to their motion to quash the search warrant from date they obtained copies of the said document and its annexes.

A joint operation by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Cebu City Police Office’s Special Weapons and Tactics traced the two vehicles that were allegedly used in the killing at the RHPU impounding area in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

Recovered from the compound was a red Toyota Vios with plate number GSC 675, which was allegedly used in the killing of Archival and two of his companions in Barangay Coro, Dalaguete, Cebu last February 18.

Through their legal counsel lawyer Inocencio dela Cerna, the policemen sought to nullify the search warrant earlier issued against them after they were tagged in the ambush-slay.

Peras said that after the policemen have filed their supplemental motion, the NBI-7 would also be given five days to file their supplemental comment. Thereafter, the motion to quash the search warrant would then be resolved.

Iglesia, Lerion, Mara, Galan, and Bacani earlier claimed that the search warrant was issued without legal basis.

They said they were not furnished copies of the supporting documentation evidence, affidavits, searching questions and answers, and all necessary and relevant documents leading to the issuance of the search warrant.

They also said the warrant lacks probable cause and did not implicate or clearly state their participation.  They called it a fishing expedition and that the evidence obtained through it violates of their constitutional rights.

In his five-page order, however, Peras said the issuance of the search warrant was based on probable cause and that the respondents’ names were properly identified.

He also said the policemen’s participation in committing the crime was clearly stated in the application of the NBI for search warrant.

“Respondents have been properly named as persons in control and supervision of the HPG (RHPU) 7 Compound located at Sudlon, Lahug, Cebu City, (it) being the place where the subject vehicles were located and thereafter seized,” read the order.

Peras said application of the search warrant was not a fishing expedition, as it was sanctioned under the Constitution and as a “legal tool” available to law enforcement to seize evidence kept, hidden, or in possession of the policemen.

The court also argued that the evidence the NBI-7 seized were not in violation of any law, as the act was covered under the Constitution and the Rules on Criminal Procedures.

Archival and his companions were on their way to Cebu City when unidentified men in two vehicles pumped bullets into their vehicle.

Archival, his driver Alejandro Jayme, bodyguard Candido Miñoza were killed during the attack, while Paolo Cortes, an on-call assistant, survived his wounds.  (FREEMAN)












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