Court resets arraignment of suspects in Roxas slay

ROXAS City– Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Edward Contreras yesterday reset the arraignment of the two suspects in the killing of Radio Mindanao Network DyVR anchorman Martin Roxas on December 2.

Atty. Ma. Romelaine Joy Tipo, counsel of accused Joenel Lastimoso and Kristian Tan, said they will ask the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review the resolution issued by the Roxas City Prosecutor’s Office, which denied their motion for reconsideration.

During the scheduled arraignment on September 2, the court granted the petition of the defense to reset it on September 16.

In a four-page resolution, the prosecutors denied the motion for reconsideration of the accused for lack of merit.

In denying the motion, Prosecutor Erwin Ignacio said “the motion for reinvestigation filed by the accused is not resolved herein as the proper procedure for its filing was not complied with.”

The resolution said the supplemental manifestation and motion filed by the accused on September 4 alternatively asked for a reinvestigation. However, considering that the case has already been filed in court, the motion for reinvestigation should be addressed to the court, the prosecutor added.

“It has been held that a motion for reinvestigation should, after the court had acquired jurisdiction over the case, be addressed to the trial judge and to him alone,” the prosecutor stressed.

Ignacio has formed the Special Panel of Investigating Prosecutors composed of 3rd Assistant Prosecutor Chuchi Asis-Ramos as head, and 4th Assistant Prosecutor James Advincula and 4th Assistant Prosecutor Alma Barias-Delfin as members to resolve the manifestation and urgent motion for reconsideration of the accused.

The prosecutor also formed a panel of trial prosecutors headed by 1st Assistant prosecutor Anthony Firmalino to attend the trial of the case in court. Asis-Ramos and Banias-Delfin are the members.

The judge cited procedural process as reason in the deferment of the arraignment and the granting of the motion for review of the accused.

The scheduled arraignment on December 2 is enough for the DOJ to decide the motion for review sought by the accused, the court said.(Felipe V. Celino)/PN

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