Leyte fiscal: Subpoena sent to 6 drug case respondents

Miriam Garcia Desacada (The Freeman) - December 1, 2016 - 12:00am

3 journalists included

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Leyte Provincial Prosecutor Arlene Cordovez yesterday confirmed that subpoenas were already sent to the six civilians — including the three Ormoc City-based journalists—who were accused of allegedly receiving weekly payola from Kerwin Espinosa, suspected drug lord in Eastern Visayas.

Cordovez said the cases against the six respondents are now pending for preliminary investigation while waiting for counter-affidavits and other pertinent documents from them.

The prosecutor issued the clarification in response to reports circulating the city that cases against the six civilians, as earlier filed by Albuera Police chief, Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, were already dismissed.

“No, it’s not true (the dismissals). There were actually s subpoenas sent to them, We cannot just dismiss cases without due process,” she said.

Cordovez also made it clear that based on the affidavit of the slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., and other corroborative statements from witnesses, the alleged commission of the crime occurred in Albuera town where the respondents allegedly got their payola from the house of the Espinosas,

This means that the Baybay City Regional Trial Court under Judge Carlos Arguilles has automatic jurisdiction of the cases, she said.

On the status of the cases, Cordovez said that it is still on the process of preliminary investigation by a prosecutor whose identity is kept secret for security reasons.

The Albuera Police filed the cases against the six respondents: Former Tacloban City Jail warden Joseph Nuñez, businessman Winnie Codilla, lawyer Jona John Ungab, and journalists Lalaine Marcos Jimenea, John Pilapil and Leo Dumon.

Cordovez meanwhile insisted that the affidavit of the late Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was personally witnessed by her and lawyers from the Public Attorneys Office-Region 8. She said she was surprised by the statement of Kerwin, during the Senate hearing, that the affidavit of his father was faked.

The mayor’s controversial affidavit implicated 226 government and police officials in Eastern Visayas, including the six civilians, said Cordovez, who added that it was signed in her presence, together with some police officials and members of Espinosa family.

“So we considered it as an affidavit that went through a legal process. That is why we have a lot of things to find out before anything, as we see prima facie evidence in this case,” she said.

On the other hand, National Bureau of Investigation-8’s special investigator Remegio La villa on Tuesday confirmed that the results of the investigation into the Espinosa-Yap killing were already submitted to the office of Justice Secretary Vitallano Aguirre.

In an earlier interview, NBI-8 Director Jerry Abiera said the investigation of this case has been very easy for them considering that “all witnesses cooperated well with their statements as we needed them.”  (FREEMAN)

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