Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Bailen may lose chance to testify for defense
By Angie S. Tuñacao
      Staff Member

    LAWYERS for the defense may no longer present University of the Philippines professor Jerome Bailen to testify whether or not the body recovered at the bottom of the Tan-awan cliff in Carcar did belong to Marijoy Chiong.  

      Regional Trial Court Judge Martin A. Ocampo yesterday denied the motion of defense lawyer Sisinio M. Andales to allow Bailen to take the witness stand after he ruled Monday to waive further presentation of defense evidence. 

      Ocampo said the findings of Bailen is immaterial to prove the crime of kidnapping, "so what if Bailen makes the finding that it is not the body of Marijoy Chiong?" 

      Andales said, if Bailen testifies that the body did not belong to Marijoy, it would destroy the testimony of state witness Davidson Valiente Rusia. 

      Ocampo, however, said that if the findings of Bailen would be adversed to Rusia's testimony that he saw accused Rowen Adlawan and Ariel Balansag push Marijoy off the cliff, they will only destroy that portion of his testimony. 

      The chances that Bailen will be allowed to testify for the defense is not, however, impossible. 

      Ocampo said the defense may still present Bailen and his findings as a sur-rebuttal witness, when the defense answers or rebuts new matter brought up by the prosecution. 

      He made it clear, however, that the defense cannot present additional evidence relating to the main issue of kidnapping. 

      On the other hand, Ocampo admitted for the record that Larrañaga would have testified that he was with his group of his friends, who were able to testify earlier, the whole night of July 16, 1997 until the early morning of July 17. 

      Ocampo, however, made it clear that the court was not necessarily admitting the truth of it. 

      Ocampo also said in his order, "this court wishes to state loudly and clearly that it is already sick and tired of having to endure all the dilatory tactics being employed - since October of 1997 - by the accused and their lawyers. 

      With Ocampo's order denying the motions for reconsideration of lawyers Andales, Teodoro C. Villarmia Jr. and Eric S. Carin, the prosecution presented two rebuttal witnesses. 

      Capt. Neptali Cabanos, detachment commander of the Ayala Center Cebu, testified to the authenticity of the copy of the security blotter about the mauling incident figured in by accused James Anthony Uy and Adlawan on July 12, 1997, which the prosecution confronted Uy about and the latter denied. Cabanos, however, admitted that he  mmmm

REVIEWING EVIDENCE. Defense lawyers in the Chiong kidnap case review a photo file of shoplifters apprehended at the Ayala Center. One of the shoplifters, on file, turns out to be their client, James Anthony Uy.                                                    

could not answer any questions about the circumstances behind the July 12 entry because he was not yet assigned to the Ayala Center when the incident happened. 

      Ocampo ruled that Cabanos' testimony does not sufficiently rebut the denial of Uy about the incident. 

      Private prosecutor Honorato D. Hermosisima Jr. said they will present Cabanos' predecessor whom Cabanos identified as the one who made the blotter entry. 

      Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Leodegario E. Acebedo yesterday belied the testimony of Clotilde Soterol, a witness for accused Alberto Cano and Balansag, that the team from the Criminal Investigation Group prepared Soterol's affidavit in her house at Perellos, Carcal on July 28, 1997. 

      Acebedo said he and his team of three CIG investigators first went to the Soterol residence on July 27 sometime around 9:00 pm to get information from Soterol. 

      The next day, Acebedo and his team went back to Carcar to fetch Soterol, brought her to the CIG office at Camp Sotero Cabahug along Gorordo Avenue, where SP03 Benjamin Pepino took her sworn statement. 

      Contrary to her allegation, Acebedo said he read and translated to Soterol in Cebuano the entire contents of her affidavit which Pepino prepared in English. 

      According to Acebedo, when Pepino prepared the sworn statement, he asked Soterol questions in Cebuano, she answered him also in Cebuano. Pepino, however, had prepared the document in English. 

      Acebedo also admitted having notarized Soterol's affidavit, explaining that the New PNP Law allowed him to.

      Acebedo read aloud section 50 of the PNP Law which states that officers of the PNP with the rank of Inspector to Sr. Supt. are authorized to administer oaths in relation to the performance of their official duties. 

      Ocampo said he was surprised when he saw, for the first time, that Acebedo notarized Soterol's affidavit. 

      "This is the first time I  came to know that a police officer had the power to notarize," Ocampo exclaimed. 

      Marijoy and her sister were abducted on the rainy evening of July 16,1997 while waiting for a ride home at the Ayala Center Cebu. 

      Almost two years later, Jacqueline has not yet been found.

              NOTE:  1.  RED COLOR OURS FOR EMPHASIS.                                                                                           

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