Castro faces criminal indictment in court
Michael Vencynth H. Braga (The Freeman) - February 10, 2017 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Controversial prosecutor Mary Ann Castro is facing criminal charges before the court for allegedly harassing her estranged husband’s live-in partner and child inside a police camp in Cebu City last year.

The Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office found sufficient evidence to hold Castro for trial for violation of Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act), light physical injuries and light oral defamation.

“This office finds probable cause to indict respondent,” stated Maria Theresa Calibugan-Casiño in her resolution.

The case stemmed from the complaint of Maricel Gregory, live-in partner of Leodegreco Sanchez, following a commotion at the Police Regional Office-7.

In the late night of March 7, 2016, Castro went to the Regional Special Operations Group (RSOG) office to demand the release of Gregory from the police custody so she could be turned over to Talisay City Police Station, 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.

In her complaint-affidavit, Gregory recalled that Castro demanded to go inside the room where she was detained. Castro allegedly held Gregory’s arm and pulled her hair while shouting defamatory words in the presence of her child and the police.

Gregory said that Castro caused actual harm on her and her son who fell on the ground when the prosecutor attacked them. She also accused Castro of harassing them through telephone calls and text messages.

Castro said she did not intend to harass anybody during the commotion at the police camp since she only served a legitimate purpose by helping in the service of the warrant of arrest against Gregory.

She added that she should also not be held responsible for the alleged harassment to the children since the calls and alleged defamatory statements were intended for Gregory and not for her children.

She questioned the initial evaluation report on the child because the assessment was done 10 days after the incident inside the police headquarters. She said the child may have been exposed already to other factors.

But the investigating prosecutor gave weight to the medical certificate which was “consistent” with the allegations of the complainant.

As to the oral defamation, the prosecutor’s office found sufficient evidence that Castro uttered defamatory words such as “bogo ka” against the complainant.

“It is clear that the respondent did the utterance in the heat of anger with heightened emotions towards Maricel, thus, constitutive only of simple slander or light oral defamation,” the prosecutor added.

“A careful reading of the initial evaluation report would illustrate that the child “manifested traumatic indicators as well as a change in behavior such as being clingy and restless. Likewise, the evaluation reflected that this behavior may be caused by recent events which he was too young to comprehend thus making him anxious and distressed,” it stated further.

Castro married to Sanchez, son of the late vice governor Gregorio Sanchez, in a Muslim rite on August 18, 2015, a day after Greco was released from drug rehabilitation center. Their marriage did not also last.

July last year, the Supreme Court also suspended Castro from the practice of law for six months for filing two petitions for the annulment of her previous marriage in two different courts in Cebu.  (FREEMAN)

INDICTMENT IN COURT
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