Wednesday, February 6, 1999 

No comprehensive......... evidence body that of... Marijoy, experts claim

     THEY cannot categorically say it was not Marijoy Chiong.

      So, the forensic experts hired by one of the accused in the Chiong case wanted the grave dug, a recommendation repeatedly denounced by the judge, the prosecution and the public.

      They still gave the recommendation even as the court ruled that the identification of the body is irrelevant as the accused are charged with murder, but double kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

     On Tuesday, the defense has to present sur-rebuttal witness; otherwise, Judge Martin Ocampo will wrap up the case for decision.

      In a press conference sponsored by Jodi Aznar, accused Josman Aznar's mother, which was held at the Alta Vista Country Club yesterday afternoon, the experts blamed the prosecution for not submitting Marijoy's dental record and a photograph of her teeth. 

      The experts said it would have been easier for them to identify the woman found dead at the bottom of a 250-feet deep ravine.

      They also stressed that the prosecution did not submit comprehensive evidence which could have aided their court-sanctioned examination.

      The experts, led by University of the Philippines professor Jerome Bailen, also told reporters that doubts still exist as to the identity of the body and reiterated that the public will be "disappointed" if the "truth" is not unleashed.

      Bailen, in his eight-page report, said he cannot definitely rule out that the body could be that of Marijoy.

      Thus, he recommended that all photos and negatives taken of the cadaver at the ravine and at the morgue be further examined "for added details that could contribute to a negative or positive identification."

      Bailen also invoked their right as taxpayers to expose the truth. He also espoused "dialectic balancing" between prosecution and defense experts in a criminal case.

      For his part, Reynaldo Marcelo, the defense's fingerprint expert, said the thumbmark in the diskette left at the ravine is "unidentifiable", discrediting prosecution experts' conclusion that the thumbmark belongs to Josman.

      In his one-page report, Marcelo explained that the diskette found in Carcar was "smudged, unidentifiable and unreadable in its fine details.... It is left for this reason that this questioned print will not serve as a reliable and valid basis to establish the identity of the owner there of."

      Marcelo's report recommended that the fingerprint exhibit be excluded from the list of admissible prosecution exhibits.

QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS.  Odontologist Anastacio
   Rosete  (left)  presents  to media men  questions on
   the  manner the  body  found  in  a  ravine in Carcar
   was  identified  as that of   Marijoy Chiong. Support- 
   ing  the views are  (from left to right) anthropologist
   Jerome Bailen, fingerprint expert Reynaldo Marcelo
   and lawyer Sisinio Andales.       

      Forensic odontologist Anastacio Rosete Jr. also wondered why Marijoy's dental profile was not submitted, adding that he expected the PNP odontologist to give attention to the teeth.

       According to him, dental records are a strong basis in identifying a cadaver.

      In his two-page report, Rosete said his recommendation "could lead to a positive identification of Marijoy Chiong beyond reasonable doubt for the peace of mind of all concerned."

      Without the dental records, he said, he cannot positively confirm nor rule out the cadaver as that of Marijoy.

      But, despite these proclamation made by the defense during its press conference, the prosecution still believes the whole exercise to be futile.

      "Their findings have no probative value. It's only for media consumption," said Prosecutor Teresita Galanida yesterday.

      Still, lawyer Sisinio Andales, Aznar's counsel, defended their holding of the press conference stating that the people are "already agog in knowing the results."

      Andales also said he is positive Ocampo will not cite them in contempt.

      "We're not trying to influence the court," he explained.

      Besides, the prosecution was also into it, when they held a condemnation rally last month, he said, and added that they should be equal treatment.

      Galanida, in a separate interview, also called the examination by the defense's experts as an "afterthought", because the other party "had no other defense aside from alibis and denials." 

      The defense should have examined their evidence "long time ago," she added.

      Galanida also stressed that the additional evidence asked for by the defense were no longer necessary because they already submitted the fingerprint examination result which proved that the corpse was Marijoy's. 

      Also, fingerprint is the most conclusive method in identifying a person, she said, quoting the prosecution's expert.

      But the defense's fingerprint witness described "doubtful" the prosecution's exam result as he noted that the ridges were "not clear and discernible."  OCD

NOTE:  1.  RED COLOR OURS FOR EMPHASIS.                                                                                

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