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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, August 4, 2012
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Legal battle for custody
of Arles slay suspects on
Detained RPA-ABB men
show no signs of torture: CHR


Lawyers claiming to represent two Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade members linked to the murder of Judge Henry Arles took opposing positions yesterday over where their clients should be detained.

Jessie Daguia, 40, of Barangay Tampalon, Kabankalan, and Alejandro Capunong, 27, of Barangay Tabu, Ilog, are presently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation jail in Manila.

They are facing illegal possession of firearm charges before two Bacolod courts and a complaint, along with Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez and three others, for the murder of Arles before the Department of Justice.

Motions for Daguia and Cabunong's transfer to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Bacolod were filed by Romeo Subaldo, but were opposed by lawyer Ana Marie Palermo, who said she was representing the two.

Daguia, the alleged gunman in the murder of Arles, is facing an illegal possession of firearms case before Bacolod RTC Branch 49 Judge Manuel Cardinal, and Capunong, who allegedly drove the tricycle that blocked the car of Arles the night he was killed, is facing similar charges before Bacolod RTC Branch 45 Judge Eliseo Geolingo.

Subaldo was accompanied by relatives of Capunong and

Daguia to the hearings yesterday, while Palermo said the two RPA-ABB men had sought NBI protection and had asked her to represent them.

She is just doing what Daguia and Capunong asked her to do, Palermo said.

For the safety of the two and the promotion of justice and truth, they should be secured, she said.

“As far as I am concerned I am their lawyer until they tell me otherwise,” she said.

Subaldo said they are seeking the transfer of Daguia and Capunong to Bacolod on the grounds that their cases are pending before the Bacolod RTC and that a letter from the two alleges that they have been tortured at the NBI.

Judge Cardinal ordered the NBI file its reply to the motion for transfer in 10 days, while Judge Geolingo directed the prosecutor to coordinate with the NBI and give a reply also in 10 days.

Capunong's mother, Jenelyn, asked why Palermo did not inform the immediate family of the two RPA men that she was their counsel.

Palermo said it was clear when she talked to Capunong and Daguia that they asked her to represent them.

Meanwhile, lawyer Honorata Victoria in Manila sent an email to Subaldo yesterday informing him that the NBI prohibited her from seeing the detained RPA men.

“This is irregular, counsel being prohibited from seeing the detainees on the ground that I can't show a written document given by the three detainees to represent them. I was with a relative but they still did not allow me,” she said.

She said Palermo would also not allow her to talk to the detainees on the ground that she is protecting them.

When the NBI deputy director was about to allow her to see the detainees, lawyer Frank Britanico, brother-in-law of Arles, objected, Victoria said.

“This is one for the book. It is also mind-boggling why the family of the Judge and Atty. Britanico can freely visit the three at NBI,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Arles family yesterday released a report from the chief of the NBI Detention Center on the visit of Commission on Human Rights representatives to the detained RPA men on August 2.

After examining the RPA-ABB men the CHR representative said he noted no signs of physical injury on Daguia, Capunong and Eddie Fortunado.

NBI Bacolod chief Ferdinand Lavin said hehas not consulted with top NBI officials but his stand is that the three should remain with the NBI in Manila for security reasons.

It will have to be resolved who the three want as lawyer to represent them, Lavin added.

Lavin said he was not aware that the three RPA-ABB men had recanted on their involvement in the Arles murder.

But “we are dealing with people who are part of a criminal enterprise. They admitted they killed the judge for money, what do you think they will recant their statements for?” he asked.

Lavin said he has not received information that a powerful person is seeking his relief from Negros. If they lobby for my transfer, it will show that they are affected by what we are doing as professionals, he added.

Meanwhile, Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday said his advice for Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez, whose son has been included in the Arles murder complaint is “This is a legal battle, they must get a very good lawyer.”*CPG



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