Thursday, December 10, 1998

Judge bars 10th Paco............ witness: 'enough of....... same thing already'       

      The defense in the Chiong trial was barred yesterday from presenting their 10th witness, Monalisa del Gallego, because she would only testify on their July 16, 1997 at a Quezon City party.

      Judge Martin Ocampo cancelled the hearing and ordered the defense to resume on Monday with the mayor's son Raymond Garcia, who reportedly took pictures of the party, as witness.

        "It has become monotonous," Prosecutor Ramon Duyongco commented on the defense witness' corroborative testimony.

       Ocampo also advised defense lawyers to study corpus delicti principles before filing a motion to exhume Marijoy Chion's body.

      Defense lawyer Sisinio Andales, however, said it is "premature" to discuss the issue.

       Monalisa "Monique" del Gallego would have testified that Francisco Juan Larraņaga was in Quezon city in the evening of July 16, 1997, when Marijoy and Jacqueline Chiong were abducted in Cebu city.

      Ocampo pointed out the defense already presented eight witness who testified they were with Larraņaga that night.

      "Evidence is not a matter of quantity, but quality," Ocampo told the defense panel. "We will cut short the R and R Restaurant story."
    Larraņaga's lawyer Teodoro Villarmia said
preventing them from presenting more witnesses is tantamount to "suppression of evidence."

      Marianne del Gallego is expected to come to Cebu from the U.S. to testify for Larraņaga.

      Villarmia said bringing Marianne here is expensive.

10TH WITNESS. Monalisa del Gallego (center, with sister)  would   have  been  the  10th  witness  for  accused  Paco Larraņaga  (right  in  jail  uniform)  but the  judge  said no, "Evidence is not a matter of quantity but quality.

       Prosecutors said the defense can always call Marianne, elder sister of Monique and Maitina, to take the stand.

      "But subject to our objections" Prosecutor Ramon Duyongco said.

        Villarmia explained to reporters that Marianne will testify on matters not touched during the direct examinations of her eight co-witnesses.

        "I do not know why they (prosecution and the court) don't want to hear our witnesses," Villarmia said, "but I think it is still proper to present them.

       Prosecution witness said they saw Larraņaga with Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong at the Ayala Center, hours before they were abducted on July 16, 1997.

        Larraņaga's friends testified in court that Paco was with them from early in the afternoon of that day until 1 a.m. the next day.

       Raymond, Mayor Alvin Garcia's son, will testify for the defense on Monday.

      Ocampo earlier announced he found strong evidence against the seven accused: Larraņaga, Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Ariel Balansag, Alberto Caņo, James Andrew uy and his younger brother.

       The judge discharged accused Davidson Rusia as an accused and granted him state witness status, which is equivalent to acquittal.

     A reconsideration was sought on that order. The defense will elevate the matter before the higher court if Ocampo denies their motion.   OCD

NOTE:  1.  RED COLOR OURS FOR EMPHASIS.                                                                                

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