A newspaperman based in Pangasinan who was charged with murder along with Gov. Amado Espino Jr. of the province and Rep. Jesus “Boying” Celeste of the First District of Pangasinan, for allegedly instigating and plotting the killing of Mayor Ruperto Martinez of Infanta, Pangasinan, has failed to secure a writ of amparo from the Court of Appeals (CA).
In dismissing the 13-page petition filed by couple Jaime Aquino, a member of the Alab ng Mamamahayag party-list, and his wife, Ester asking the CA to compel the National Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and Akap Bata party-list to release his son, the appeals court held that it is “inclined to believe that [his son’s]security and safety will be better served if he remains at the custody of the Department of Social Welfare and Development [DSWD].”
The petitioners stressed that their child’s testimony is not credible, and that the kid was forcibly taken by the Investigation bureau’s agents to become a state witness in the case against them.
Their 16-year-old son, John, allegedly witnessed how the plot was made in the killing of Martinez, who was slain by two gunmen in front of his house at Barangay Cato in Infanta, hours after town residents staged a rally protesting an infrastructure project in the area.
John also related information connecting his father and his “bosses” to other crimes—the death of a village councilor in San Juan, Alcala, Pangasinan, Jovencia Gasmin.
The minor witness also shared information about the death of Councilor Nato Sabangan of Bayambang, Pangasinan.
John claimed that he saw Espino asking two persons if they were able to kill Sabangan, which they affirmed.
The couple had sought a temporary protection order against the judicial body and to compel it to produce his son, documents and testimonies regarding the case.
However, the ruling of the Court’s former 17th division dated June 17, 2013 ruled that the Aquinos failed to substantiate their allegations.
The court held that Aquino “did not mention a single instance in which [his son’s]life, liberty and security are being endangered or threatened by any of the respondents. The perils that they fear, which are the result of [his son]becoming a witness to a crime, come from unnamed elements that are not connected to respondents [NBI, DSWD and Akap-Bata Caritas].”
The appellate court stated that if John will be returned to his parents, “there is even a greater chance that he will be exposed to actual and imminent danger.
“Courts will not normally interfere with the prosecutor’s discretion to file a criminal case when there is probable cause to do so. The question of whether or not to dismiss a criminal complaint is necessarily dependent on the sound discretion of the investigating prosecutor and, ultimately, of the Secretary [or Undersecretary acting for the Secretary]of Justice,” the ruling pointed out.