Tuesday, January 25, 2005
told: Affirm decision............... on Chiong case
By Grecar Nilles
Sun.Star Staff Reporter
that convicted Josman Aznar’s additional evidence cannot clear him of
the crime, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is asking the Supreme
Court to affirm with finality its decision sentencing him and five other
men to death.
In a six-page consolidated comment, OSG’s
Alfredo L. Benipayo, Amy C. Lazaro-Javier and Cleto R. Villacorta said the
affidavit of former National Bureau of Investigation 7 head Florencio
Villarin does not in any way clear Aznar of any wrongdoing.
“The substance of Villarin’s affidavit
is neither helpful much less decisive in the instant case nor encouraging
to (Aznar’s) cause,” the comment read.
“Ironically, Aznar would want to place
Villarin on the witness stand despite the fact that this fellow’s
affidavit pointed to him as the prime suspect in the hideous crimes
against Marijoy and Jacqueline (Chiong),” it further said.
The Supreme Court (SC) en banc, in a
resolution, recently decided to grant Aznar’s motion to present more
evidence to support his motion for reconsideration questioning the death
penalty imposed on him and his five of his co-accused.
In another en banc decision in February
last, the Supreme Court had raised the penalty imposed by the late RTC
Judge Martin Ocampo, from double terms of 20 to 40 years in prison on the
seven men to death penalty on six of them and 32 to 57 years on the
The seven men—Aznar, Francisco Juan
“Paco” Larrañaga, Rowen Adlawan, Ariel Balansag, Alberto Caño, James
Anthony Uy and his brother James Andrew.
Earlier, three Spanish bar associations
asked the High Tribunal to review the death penalty imposed on Larrañaga,
who is said to be a Spanish citizen.
The OSG said that the first 12 paragraphs of Villarin’s affidavit are
“self-congratulatory” allegations, while the last few paragraphs
talked about his personal tirades against Thelma Chiong’s alleged
influence peddling and the undue promotions of the lawyers and police
officers who helped the victims.
Thelma, who heads the Visayas’ Crusade Against
Violence, is the mother of Marijoy and Jacqueline.
SUN.STAR'S story last Jan. 18 on the
appeal by three Spanish bar associations seeking a
a review on the death penalty imposed
on Francisco Juan "Paco"
“In executing the affidavit, it appears
that Villarin would want to impress that he, rather than those promoted,
deserved the promotion,” the OSG comment said.
Aznar also submitted the affidavit of one
Vandory Cuico, who alleged that the prosecution’s star witness, Davidson
Rusia, had been tortured by policemen in order to testify.
But the OSG said Rusia could have revealed
his ordeal during the trial, but he did not do so.
“To be sure, there is not a single bit of
evidence on record to prove such tall tale even as witness Rusia himself
denied such alleged maltreatment,” the comment read.
The OSG said that if Cuico was a credible
witness, the defense could have presented him during the trial proper.
The OSG also said that Villarin’s
affidavit was executed on Feb. 27, 2004, or close to seven years after the
incident, which all the more “hardly gives credibility to Aznar’s
“Lastly, there is nothing in Villarin’s
affidavit of the quality of a ‘smoking gun’ that would acquit (Aznar)
of the crimes they have been convicted of.”
“Indeed, judging by the substance of his
affidavit, he would not be testifying in case a new trial is held on
anything that has not been said and rejected heretofore, except his own
unsubstantiated opinions, his self-congratulatory remarks, and his
unmitigated frustration over failing to get a promotion when almost
everyone else did,” the comment added.