Tuesday, February 1, 2005                 

Villarin 'barred from........ testifying'
Former NBI 7 director says officials should be held liable for obstruction of justice; Chiong calls him a liar
By Grecar Nilles
Sun.Star Staff Reporter

      A FORMER director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 is challenging the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to institute criminal and disbarment proceedings against Deputy Ombudsman-Visayas Primo Miro and two of his former colleagues prosecuting the Chiong case.

     Former NBI 7 chief Florencio Villarin alleged that Miro, Regional Trial Court Judges Teresita Galanida of Dumaguete City and Cesar Estrera of Toledo City should be held liable for obstruction of justice for barring him in testifying in court.

      Miro, Galanida and Estrera could not be reached for comment.

      While the case was still pending in court, Villarin was set to testify that one of the seven men convicted of abducting and killing sisters Jacqueline and Marijoy Chiong had nothing to do with the crime.

      At first, Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Ariel Balansag, Alberto Caņo, James Anthony Uy and brother James Andrew were meted two life terms.

      But in February 2004, the Supreme Court decided to impose the death penalty on six of the seven men for the July 16, 1997 incident.

      Villarin, who had executed an affidavit in February 2004 clearing Larraņaga, also took exception to the comment of the OSG for discrediting him instead of answering squarely his arguments in his affidavit.

      "The comment of the OSG is indeed a reckless, unjust and outrageous lie viciously and hopelessly concocted to suppress the truth and defeat the ends of justice," Villarin said.

FLORENCIO VILLARIN. While the case was still pending in  court,  the former NBI 7 director (above) was set to testify that one of the seven men convicted of abducting and killing sisters Jacqueline  and  Marijoy Chiong had nothing to do with the crime. At right,  Sun Star's story on the  plea by Spanish lawyers to review the death penalty imposed on Francisco Juan "Paco" Larraņaga.    

      Earlier, the OSG, in a consolidated comment, said Villarin's affidavit is "neither helpful much less decisive in the instant case."

     The OSG added that there was nothing in Villarin's affidavit that would acquit any of the seven convicted men.

      The OSG also said Villarin should not blame the prosecutors who barred him from testifying, but the defense lawyers who "did everything to make a mockery of the criminal proceedings."

      Villarin added that only Thelma, the mother of Jacqueline and Marijoy, and Miro could be blamed if Jacqueline's body still has to be found until this time. 

      He said they used to have a witness who knew the whereabouts of Jacqueline, but the NBI had to abandon the witness after they were shut out from the investigation of the case.

      From her part, Thelma, in an interview, calls Villarin "bakakon siyang daku (a big liar)" for claiming that he was part of those who were investigating the abduction of the Chiong sisters.

      The truth of the matter is he was courting at least three of our witnesses to retract their statements, but Villarin failed to convince our witnesses kay ang ilang gisulti sa korte mao man ang tinuod (because what they said in court was the truth). It is not true that the NBI was the lead agency investigating the incident. It was the CIDG,"  Chiong said.

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