Sunday, May 02, 2010

Suspects in Sarangani mayor’s ambush try ordered released

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines - The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Sarangani has ordered Friday the release of five arrested suspects who were earlier implicated in the alleged April 25 ambush try of Mayor Enrique Yap Jr in Glan town, The Manila Times reported Sunday.

Fiscal Kayugenn Mato Kuda Jr has directed the local police to release suspects Freddie Merndez, Ronald Elorde, Alfredo Macabacyao, Jimmy Mier and Renante Bangka, all of this city, after finding out that the arrest has been done illegally.

Kuda Jr stressed the release order after ruling it out that the arrest of the suspects was unlawfully executed, contrary to the provisions of Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure.

Kuda said the suspects were arrested without actually committing the act complained of or immediately thereafter.

Police earlier charged the suspects with violation of the election gun ban after they were allegedly caught with an M-16 Armalite rifle and a cal.-45 pistol inside their Toyota service van vehicle.

Defense lawyer Orlado Salatandre Jr during preliminary examination of the evidence and case at hand, opined that the process of the arrest was inadmissible.

“The arrest was made before the policemen went through the van, where they found the rifle under a seat and the pistol in one of the boots of the suspects. Under the law, a warrantless arrest may only be resorted to if the suspects were caught in actual possession of the firearms after a body search,” Salantedra told reporters, adding that the arresting policemen have even failed to cite in their affidavits, that they saw the suspects inside the van when they got hold of the firearms.

When asked during some clarificatory questions raised by the defense, Police Insp. Jude Marklon del Carmen, Glan police station chief, said he did not mention it in his sworn statement to make his affidavit short and simple.

Reports stressed del Carmen led the raid after Yap reported that the suspects had tried to waylay his convoy following a political a rally of the Lakas-Kampi CMD-Sarro held in Sitio Tamparan, Barangay Pangyan, Glan town.

Salatandre said the arresting officers could even be held civilly, administratively and criminally liable. He said his clients also wanted to file charges against the apprehending officers before the Ombudsman due to unlawful arrest, illegal search and arbitrary detention. (Isagani Palma)

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