Friday, January 15, 1999

Ocampo rejects........... exhumation; to let........ experts see exhibits
Judge calls latest defense witness..... liar   

      Judge Martin Ocampo yesterday announced he will not allow the exhumation of the body of Marijoy Chiong. 

      If the defense wants to prove that the body was not Marijoy's, the judge will allow them to present experts who had examined the prosecution exhibits. 

      Defense presented yesterday its 19th witness, Salvador Buton, a security guard of Loyola Heights condo who vouched that accused Francisco Juan Larraņaga and Lourdes Montalvan left the building at 10:15 p.m. of July 16, 1996

      Ocampo called Buton a "liar", when the witness claimed he was able to record people leaving and entering the condominium while supposedly patrolling the building which has more then five storeys.

      The prosecution claimed that Buton's entry on the logbook regarding Larraņaga and Montalvan was made up because it was written on top of the page, not in line with other entries.

      Asked why he did not record the departure of Larraņaga in line with other entries on the page, Buton said he was busy and merely did what came to his mind. 

      What baffled the prosecution and the court was Buton's testimony that he was patrolling the condominium for only 20 minutes, from 9:30 to 9:50 on that night. During this time, he was able to record three persons entering the building.

          "Dala-dala mo ba ang logbook?" an irked Ocampo asked. (You were bringing along the logbook?)

          Buton said another security guard replaced him while he recorded the entries in the logbook.


      "But didn't your partner entered the entries himself?," Ocampo asked.

      The witness, who said he has been a security guard for 27 years, said his colleague has his own logbook.

      Exasperated, Ocampo barked at the witness: "You're a liar." He then stood up and adjourned the hearing.

      Prosecutor Ramon Duyongco said the logbook reveals that Buton was with three other security guards that night, each assigned to specific locations. Buton was assigned at the lobby.

          Duyongco wondered why the logbook did not bear records of another guard roving at 7 the same night. He pointed out that one of the previous witnesses, Richard Antonio, supposedly went inside Paco's condo at that time, but this was not recorded by the guards.

          Buton insisted that there is always a guard at the lobby to record those leaving or entering the building. But he said guards on patrol record only "unusual" incidents.

          "But you said everything has to be logged in," Ocampo said, citing the "lone ranger" bank robbery incident in Mandaue city which was blamed on the guard's negligence.

          Ocampo appeared to tolerate the questions of defense lawyer Teodoro Villarmia during the direct examination.

          Buton, connected with the Confederate Security Investigation Agency, said Montalvan returned past midnight while Paco came back at 12:45 p.m. the next day.

          A 15-minute recess took place after the direct examination to allow the prosecution to peruse the logbook.  CAM/OCD

Corrections on article: 1) 1996 is wrong. It should read 1997. 2) Should read 2:45 a.m. and not 12:45 p.m.

NOTE:  1.  RED COLOR OURS FOR EMPHASIS.                                                                                

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