Friday, August 15, 2008
Gun charges vs witness in Chiong case dropped

      THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) dismissed yesterday illegal possession charges against a man, who was once a witness in the rape-slay of Chiong sisters in the late 1990s.

      Judge Estela Alma Singco of RTC Branch 12 exonerated Rolando Dacillo of the charges after the prosecution failed to present in court the gun allegedly recovered from Dacillo or present it as evidence against the accused.

     Judge Singco said the prosecution witnesses could not also tell where the gun was kept.

      PO3 Felisardo Gallego of the Mabolo police station arrested Dacillo on May 26, 2002 when he responded to call informing him of the presence of an armed person in barangay Lahug, Cebu City.

      Gallego with PO2 Rowena Sumaipong and Insp. Juanito Pajantoy went to the area and found a crowd gathered in an illegal cockfight. Gallego arrested Dacillo because his physical appearance coincided with the description given by the infirmant.

      Gallego told the court that he recovered a .45 caliber pistol from Dacillo. But Pajintoy admitted that he did not see the gun taken from the accused. He did not also know where the gun was after the arrest.

  Supt. Alexander Roldan of Camp Crame Firearms and Explosive Division earlier said Dacillo was not a registeed firearm holder.

      Sumaimpong said she had no record that the gun was turned over to the station. She thought it was kept by the arresting officers.

      Judge Singco said the alleged gun supposedly proved the essence of the crime but the prosecution failed to present it in court.

..... "The presumption of innocence dictates that it is for the people to demonstrate guilt and not for the accused to establish his innocence," the judgement read.

.......Dacillo was a witness in Chiong case. He testified seeing Jacqueline being forced to enter into the van.

.......He also identified Josman Aznar as among the accused in the killing Jacqueline and sister Marijoy. / Reporter HAYDE D.. QUIñANOLA

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