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Motion to dismiss cases vs Veloso recruiters submitted for resolution

STO. DOMINGO, Nueva Ecija—The urgent motion to quash information and warrant of arrest filed by the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) which aims to free the alleged recruiters of death convict Mary Jane Veloso, was submitted for resolution after a lengthy oral argument at the Regional Trial Court Branch 37 here on Tuesday.

Maria Cristina Sergio / Mary Christine Gulles Pasadilla
Screengrab from ABS-CBN News on Youtube

Lawyer Preside Rueda-Acosta, PAO chief, said it is the prerogative of Judge Nelson Tribiana when to make the ruling.

A judge, Acosta said, usually has 90 days to make such resolution.

“It depends on Judge Tribiana when he is going to resolve the case,” Acosta said.

Assistant state prosecutor Mark Roland Estepa also said that “it is actually the judge's prerogative.”

Acosta led the defense while Estepa led the prosecution in the oral argument over the PAO motion in connection with Criminal Case no. SD (15)-3666 against Veloso’s alleged recruiters couple Ma. Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao before the sala of Judge Nelson Tribiana.

In an interview after the hearing, Acosta maintained the charges and the arrest should be quashed altogether.

“We told that there is no offense. The elements of illegal recruitment are not in the information charge” Acosta said, saying that section 6 of the Illegal Recruitment Act provides the alleged victim should have paid the supposed illegal recruiter.

Acosta said the case may set a dangerous precedent.

She said that the case should also be dismissed because of the alleged illegal arrest of Sergio and Lacanilao.

Maritess Laurente-Veloso, Veloso’s elders sister, expressed dismay over the PAO taking defense of the accused.

“I am dismayed with the PAO. They should be the one defending the aggrieved party. But the way I saw it, the PAO defends those who are the ones that are aggrieving,” Laurente said.

She said Estepa has effectively explained before the court that illegal recruitment may happen even without payment of any fee.

“Prosecutor Estepa explained that even a promise can be considered as illegal recruitment,” she said.

Estepa did not elaborate during the interview.

But in his written opposition, Estepa said Sergio and Lacanilao, in filing the motion to quash, “Want(s) to have their cake, and eat it too.”

“While both accused persistently denied the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court over their persons, they asked for reliefs that cannot be given without the latter’s exercise of the same,” he said in his opposition.

Lacanilao, a resident of Esguerra District, Talavera, Nueva Ecija while Sergio who lives with him, was a native of Bicol.

They are now incarcerated at the Nueva Ecija provincial jail. (PNA)

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