Osmeña to sue RSP Gubalane

Rene U. Borromeo (The Freeman) - March 5, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines -  Former congressman Tomas R. Osmeña has threatened to file charges against Regional State Prosecutor Fernando Gubalane.

That is if the latter would not reconsider his order assigning another prosecutor to conduct the preliminary investigation into the libel case Osmeña filed against broadcaster and columnist Pablito “Bobby” Nalzaro.

Gubalane granted the motion filed by Nalzaro for both Assistant Cebu City Prosecutors Gandhi Truya and Ma. Thereza Casiño to refrain from handling the preliminary investigation to avoid speculations that they might be bias for the former Cebu City mayor and south district congressman.

In his motion for inhibition, Nalzaro said he had publicly criticized Truya’s father, then Cebu assistant provincial prosecutor Crispulo Truya, for alleged extortion almost 20 years ago and was instrumental in the elder Truya’s suspension.

In the case of Casino, Nalzaro said he learned that Osmeña once offered financial assistance to the prosecutor. Casino was one of the wounded victims of the January 22, 2013 shooting incident inside the Marcelo Fernan Hall of Justice perpetrated by Canadian John Pope.

Osmeña reportedly offered Casino P300,000 for the prosecutor’s hospital expenses, and that Nalzaro’s “reliable sources”  told the broadcaster that she did accept the offer.

In response to Nalzaro’s motion, Gubalane directed Lapu-Lapu City Assistant Prosecutor Jose Rodrigo Tagaan to be the one to conduct the preliminary investigation into the case and to ready the necessary information, if evidence warrant, for the court.

Osmeña said his legal counsel, Patrick Lucido, informed him that the regional state prosecutor is only vested the power of administrative supervision over prosecutors and does not have the authority to direct the city or provincial prosecutors to inhibit from handling cases.

Lucido cited the case of People vs. Garfin, where the Supreme Court ruled on March 29, 2004 that “the power of administrative supervision is limited to the authority of the department or its equivalent to generally oversee the operations.”

Lucido argued that even assuming that the law empowered the regional state prosecutor to direct a city or provincial prosecutor to inhibit from handling a case, it is only limited to instances when the handling prosecutors are related to any of the parties within the sixth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity.  Gubalane refused to issue any statement in response to Osmeña’s threat as he would be the one to approve whatever Tagaan’s resolution would be, which would be known days from now.

Nalzaro said Osmeña has the right to file a motion for reconsideration and it is up to Gubalane to resolve it.

“Iya sab na nga katungod, sama nga ako sab nga katungod nga mihangyo nga ipa-inhibit sila si Prosecutors Truya ug Casiño,” the broadcaster said.

Osmeña said he would not hesitate to file charges against Gubalane if the prosecutor would insist on his order reassigning the conduct of the preliminary hearing to Tagaan.

Nalzaro said he will not object if his libel case would be assigned to other prosecutors aside from Tagaan for the conduct of preliminary investigation, as long as they are not  Casiño and Truya.

The case Nalzaro is facing stemmed from his column in a local newspaper, where he said it appeared that some of Osmeña’s evidence in the 38 counts of administrative charges filed against Cebu City Treasurer Diwa Cuevas before the Civil Service Commission and Department of Finance were fabricated.

In filing the libel complaint, Osmeña said he would not be asking Nalzaro to pay him damages but that his intent was to prove that the tri-media personality is a “liar.” — /RHM (FREEMAN)

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