Ex-mayor gets 14 years for broadcaster’s death

Michael Vencynth H. Braga (The Freeman) - August 11, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Regional Trial Court in Cebu City has sentenced the former mayor of Lezo town in Aklan to suffer 14 years of imprisonment after he was found guilty in the killing of a broadcast journalist in 2004.

RTC Branch 16 Judge Sylva Paderanga found Alfredo Arcenio guilty of homicide over the death of Heherson "Boy Hinolan, Bombo Radyo dyIN station manager in Aklan.

"Under the obtaining circumstances, this court finds that the prosecution was able to amply establish and prove the guilt of the accused of the crime of homicide beyond reasonable doubt," read Paderanga's 26-page decision promulgated yesterday.

The court sentenced Arcenio with eight to 14 years imprisonment as penalty and ordered him to pay the victim's family a total of P187, 761 in damages.

Arcenio was originally charged with murder. The court, however, downgraded the charge to homicide after the prosecution failed to establish the elements of murder, which carries a higher penalty of up to 40 years imprisonment.

The court also considered Arcenio's voluntary surrender which mitigated his criminal liability. Padera-nga tried the murder case against Arcenio after the Supreme Court granted the request of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, a media coalition, for the transfer of the venue of the case from Aklan to Cebu in 2008.

Arcenio was also ordered detained in Cebu to prevent him from harassing or influencing witnesses in Aklan. During the trial, the prosecution presented six witnesses, while the defense offered the lone testimony of Arcenio as his defense.

One of the eyewitnesses, Niño Suñer, testified that he saw Arcenio chasing Hinolan and shooting him at around 10:45 p.m. on November 13, 2004. The shooting happened near a carnival along Mabini Street in Kalibo, Aklan.

Suñer said he was sitting on a tricycle parked in a warehouse outside the carnival when Hinolan came outside to relieve himself. Suñer then saw Arcenio, wearing a black jacket and a cap, approached Hinolan.

According to Suñer, Arcenio was about two meters away from Hinolan when he heard a gunshot. Holding a pistol wrapped in a magazine, Arcenio allegedly chased Hinolan when the latter fled toward a gas station nearby.

He said Arcenio tripped and fell but still caught up with Hinolan. The ex-mayor allegedly shot Hinolan two more times until the victim fell on the road. Arcenio then boarded a motorcycle and fled from the scene. Suñer brought Hinolan to Aklan provincial hospital but he did not make it alive.

In his testimony in court on February 9, 2012, Arcenio denied killing Hinolan despite repeated attacks against him the latter's radio program.

"I am not capable of killing anyone because I also have a name to protect," Arcenio told the court.

In the decision, Paderanga said Arcenio was positively identified by Suñer as the one who chased and shot Hinolan twice while the victim was running.

Arcenio declined to be interviewed by the media. He was escorted by jail guards back to his detention cell at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.

Hinolan's widow, Aphrodite, told reporters that she could now heave a sigh of relief and that her husband would be happy about the decision.

"Mabulok na sana siya sa kulungan. Justice has been served. Kahit gusto namin na murder sana, masaya na kami sa decision ng korte," she said.

She also thanked prosecutors Gandhi Truya and Hazel Valdez for successfully pursuing the case. (FREEMAN)

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