PART 17 

     'felt like eating barbecue at 1:30 in the morning'
      
                                                               (SUN.STAR FOTO/ALEX BADAYOS)

    
      In his testimony of September 15, 1998, Mr. Alfredo Duarte testified  that at 1:30 in the morning of July 17, 1997, he bought barbecue in a barbecue stand “at the corner of Ayawan”, a barangay before the
poblacion (town) proper of Carcar.

   He farther testified that he bought some milk for his two-month-old baby in a store near the barbecue stand. These two stores are “more or less 50 meters away from his house,” he alleged.
 

    The Municipality of Carcar is a good 45 kilometers away from Cebu City.

    People residing in areas like this, more so if not situated in the
poblacion proper, normally stay in their homes or go to bed as early as seven in the evening. Yet the witness wants us to believe that at 1:30 in the morning he felt like eating barbecue and walked 50 meters to a barbecue stand, on a very raining night. (The weather men issued affidavits attesting that it was raining very hard that night until the early morning of the 17th of July 1997). 

    Also, why does he have to buy milk at such a highly odd hour, 1:30 in the morning?


   In the same testimony, the witness allegedly knew the white van driver because “before he was my conductor when I was driving a jeep plying   Carcar  to  Cebu.”  

    If indeed his claim is  true, why did he not
approached the van and talked to the van driver, while he was waiting a good 10 minutes for the alleged suspect’s order to be served. Wasn’t he curious to know why he was still driving at such an unholy hour?

      In his same testimony, the witness said he saw the plate number of the van and remembered it.   

     How was he able to remember the plate number of the van? No testimony was given that he wrote down the plate number.

     In fact, most, if not all of the witnesses that saw the van surprisingly remember the plate number. Maybe not the make nor the year, but the plate number, yes.....  very clearly.

        But with regard to the two cars (one red and the other white) allegedly earlier used in the crime, no one could give any of the plate numbers.

      One of the witnesses even said the red car was a taxi. The others, just a red car. 

      Why no description or plate number of these cars? Could it be because no such cars exist and so the police couldn't feed this information to their witnesses?

              
CRIME SCENE. This van was pinpointed by at least 4 witnesses as having been parked on the wrong side of the road in Tan-awan, Carcar on July 17, 1997.
                            
(Cebu Daily News Oct 6, 2004 Police Photo)

   
  One last thing… Insp. Leodegardo Acevedo testified during the prosecution’s rebuttal that Mr. Alfredo Duarte, the star witness, accompanied  him  when  the inspector went to the house of Clotilde Soterol in connection with his investigation of the case. If that is so, what was the business of Mr. Duarte in accompanying the inspector when the latter went to the house of Mrs. Soterol.

     Worth mentioning at this point, is that Insp. Acebedo likewise testified that he is the Chief of the Intelligence and Detection Branch of the Philippine National Police.

     The driver of the van confirms that he knows Duarte and even saw him during his earlier arrest idling around the Camp Sotero Cabahug as if he was very familiar with the place. What was Duarte doing in the police camp in the first place? Why was he so familiar with the camp?

    And considering that the prosecution did not present anyone from the barbecue stand nor from the store as witnesses, the following question is inevitable: is Mr. Alfredo Duarte also another police asset?

   At this point, you might be wondering what were the defense lawyers doing with so many discrepancies, why didn’t they object or point out the discrepancies during the trial.

    Not everyone is aware of this; during the testimonies of most of the prosecution witnesses, the accused were not represented by a lawyer of their own choice.

       The judge had earlier sent all their original lawyers to jail “for contempt”. The lawyers were then forced to quit, to protect their clients' interest, since there was already some kind of "animosity" between the judge and them (the lawyers).

     The accused then requested the judge three weeks for them to be able to find new lawyers and to give them (the lawyers) enough time to acquaint themselves with the case, but the judge plainly refused.

    Instead, he forced the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) to represent them over their objections (both from the PAO’s and the accused's). Three of these PAO lawyers were earlier representing the prosecution's star witness.

        At this point, the prosecutors were having a field day with their witnesses. It became a one-sided affair. Not one of these witnesses was ever  cross-examined by any of the defense lawyers. It became a one-sided boxing match, where one of their hands was tied to their backs, and even the referee joined in hitting them.

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