Cebu News

Castro not keen on settlement

Michael Vencynth H. Braga - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro is not keen on settling the criminal charges filed against her and six others in the commotion at the office of the Regional Special Operations Group-7 in March this year.

Castro filed a manifestation before the Municipal Trial Courts in Cities Branch 7 signifying her intention not to push through with mediation. The parties involved did not appear during the schedule of the mediation supposedly last June 23.

Jonah John Ungab, Castro's legal counsel, said Castro believed that settlement of the dispute would be impossible considering that there are other pending cases filed by the parties (Castro and RSOG-7 officers) against each other.

"Why would she compromise when she is the aggrieved party?" Ungab told reporters.

The court, however, has yet to act on the manifestation of Castro.

Castro, along with her co-accused identified as William Contamina, Benjielito Lapera, Leo Suaso, Jonas Niñez, Hazel Mabuyo and Gaudiosa Rodrigo are facing two counts of direct assault and malicious mischief charges for allegedly breaking into and causing disturbance at the RSOG-7 office.

They earlier pleaded not guilty of the accusations. All of them are currently out on bail.

It was the RSOG-7 officers who lodged the criminal complaints against Castro following the ruckus. But Castro turned the table on the police by suing them before the Office of the Ombudsman.

She also filed a damage suit against them for allegedly violating her rights and for humiliating her in public. She is seeking over P7 million for civil damages, or P667,100 from each of the 11 defendant-police officers.

Charged police officers were Police Regional Office-7 director Manuel Gaerlan, Superintendent Rex Derilo, Senior Inspector Romeo Sentinta Jr., Senior Inspector Ruel Burlat, SPO1 Roy Carlo Veloso, PO3 Joseph Bugtai, PO2 Esmeraldo Quillosa, PO3 Cesar Pandong, PO3 Albert Luardo, PO1 Khristine Jean Quibod, and PO1 Hyacinth Clavano.

Castro contended that she is entitled with the monetary compensation because the police officers' acts inflicted injury on her and caused her "mental anguish, serious anxiety, besmirched reputation, social and public humiliation."

 She added that she also suffered trauma as well as multiple bruises when she was allegedly manhandled by the defendants.

In the late night of March 7, Castro went to the RSOG-7 office to demand that a certain Maricel Gregory be released from the police custody so she could be turned over to Talisay City Police Office, believing that the latter was hidden inside.

 Gregory was the subject of the arrest warrant for the libel case filed by Castro in Talisay City. She is reportedly the common-law partner of Castro's estranged husband, Greco Sanchez. —(FREEMAN)

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