Thursday, January 20, 2005  
                 

Solicitor General disregards........ Chiong accused's 'evidence'
By Suzzane B. Salva
      
R E P O R T E R

     
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) downplayed "new evidence" offered by one of the accused in the rape-slay of Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong.

      Solicitor General Alfredo Benipayo, in a five-page comment on the evidence presented by accused Josman Aznar in the form of a statement made by former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 director Florencio Villarin, said the evidence is "unsubstantiated, self-congratulatory, and showed (Villarin's) unmitigated frustrations over failing to get a promotion".

      According to lawyer Francisco Chavez, Aznar's legal counsel, Villarin's statement indicates that Aznar and the six others sentenced for the Chiong rape-slay case were framed.

     Aznar and six others were found guilty of abducting, raping and killing Marijoy and for abducting Jacqueline in 1997. Aznar and five others were meted death penalties, while one was meted a life sentence for being a minor at the time of the crime.

     Aznar, through his counsel Francisco Chavez, submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) Villarin's affidavit on Oct. 5, 2004, presenting it as a supplement to an earlier motion filed on Feb. 27, 2004 to reconsider the court's death penalty ruling. 

     "Just recently, accused-appellant Aznar came to know of the declarations by individuals that show how appellant Aznar and other appellants were framed up in the Chiong case," Chavez wrote in his supplemental motion to the SC, referring to Villarin's statement. 

     The former NBI director alleged that in the middle of the Chiong investigation, the bureau was totally shut out from the case, especially when it started to question to the credibility of the witnesses. 

     The OSG, however, asked the SC to disregard Aznar's supplemental motion. 

     "The substance of Atty. Villarin's affidavit is neither helpful mush less decisive in the instant case nor encouraging to accused-appellant Aznar's cause,"  part of the OSG commentary read.

     The OSG pointed out that some of Villarin's statements conflicted with those of  Aznar's, like those regarding the body found in a ravine in Carcar, Cebu, wherein Aznar denied it was Marijoy's but that Villarin confirmed it to be Marijoy's.

 
JOSMAN  AZNAR:  The  Solicitor 
General doesn't believe his new 
evidence".                       
FILE  PHOTO

      The OSG pointed out that the time it took for Villarin to execute his affidavit in 2004 from 1997 "hardly gives him credibility to accused-appellant Aznar's belated hero."

      Benipayo said that the first 12 paragraphs of Villarin's affidavit are "nothing but self-congratulatory allegations."

     "It thus appears that the affidavit was nothing but about self-projection," he said. 

     He added that part of the affidavit also showed Villarin's "personal tirades against the alleged influence peddling of Mrs. Thelma Chiong and the purportedly undue promotions of the lawyers and police officers who unearthed the evidence against the accused."

     "It appears that Atty. Villarin would want to impress that he, rather than those promoted, deserved the promotion," the OSG added.

      When sought for comment, Villarin said that the remarks of the OSG are "stupid."

      On the allegation that his opening statements are self-congratulatory, Villarin said that the OSG, being composed of lawyers, should know the necessity of a witness' qualifications.

     "A witness has to qualify himself to be credible, that is a normal course in a court trial. That is a stupid remark. They are all stupid, why consider that self-congratulatory when it is fundamental? It's a basic requirement," he said.

     Villarin also called that statement that he wanted to be promoted "stupid".

     "I was about to retire at that time (1999). When I executed the affidavit, I was no longer in service. There was no reason to aspire for promotion. There was no malice to my statements, I did that in the interest of justice," he said.

     Villarin claimed that the prosecution itself prevented him from testifying in court. 

     "The records would show that the prosecution were blocking my testimony allegedly (because) we were not the lead agency. That is a big lie, we were the ones, we started the investigation," he said.

NOTE:   THE ABOVE TEXT IS THE FAITHFUL REPRODUCTION OF THE ORIGINAL
                                 DOCUMENT REFORMATTED FOR  CLEARER APPRECIATION.                       
                   
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