PIA News Service - Wednesday, April 21, 2010

DENR-Caraga objects kidnapping case dismissal

By: Robert E. Roperos, PIA-Caraga

BUTUAN CITY (21 April)
– Following the Omnibus Order dated April 12, 2010 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 33 under the sala of Presiding Judge Edgar G. Manilag, Libertad, Butuan City dismissing Criminal Case No. 13901-13906 entitled “People of the Philippines vs Leonardo “Andot” Behing, et.al. for Kidnapping and Serious Illegal Detention and at the same time recalling/setting aside the warrant of arrest issued against the accused on January 25, 2010, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Caraga Region on April 20, 2010 filed a “Joint Motion for Reconsideration” denying unwillingness on their part to pursue the case and further pleads for the re-instatement of the warrant of arrest or issuance of alias warrant against the accused.

The motion for reconsideration, signed by the kidnap victims who are also DENR-Caraga personnel stated the following reasons: 

1. The Affidavit of waiver/desistance was executed during their detention, therefore, the signing thereof was under duress and should not be given any force or effect; 

2. Six of the complainants were not able to receive any copy of the notice of investigation while two (2) of them were not even included in the subpoena for the investigation called for by the handling prosecutor on March 22, 2010; and 

3. The complainants (save for Ildefonso Jayme) were not again furnished with copies of subsequent notice for the clarificatory investigation on March 31, 2010 while two (2) of the complainants were not again included in the subpoena. Furthermore, the scheduled clarificatory investigation on March 31, 2010 at 2:00 in the afternoon fell on a non-working holiday. 

It can be recalled that on April 6, 2010, Prosecutor Aljay Go in a joint reinvestigation report recommended the dismissal of the case for insufficiency of evidence to successfully prosecute the case against the accused based on the following: 

1. Affidavit of waiver/desistance executed by the complainants; 

2. Non-appearance of all but one of the complainants during the investigation called for by Prosecutor Go on March 22, 2010; and 

3. Non-appearance of all the complainants during the Prosecutor’s scheduled investigation on March 31, 2010.