The Court of Appeals over the weekend affirmed the conviction of former Ilocos Norte governor Rodolfo C. Fariñas, who was meted a six-month jail term for arbitrary detention.
In a 17-page decision, the Court of Appeals dismissed Fariñas’ petition for review, saying that the lower courts that convicted him of illegal detention did not err in their ruling.
Fariñas was earlier found guilty by the Quezon City Metropolitan and Regional Trial Courts for forcibly detaining his former bodyguards Army Col. Pedro Hufano, Navy Capt. Mario Dolores and one Juan Dionisio Bona Jr.
Fariñas, the widower of the former actress Maria Theresa Carlson, had accused the three men of holding orgies with his late wife and their daughters.
“We find nothing in the records to support the claim of [Fariñas] that the declarations of Hufano, Dolores and Bona were more conjectures and speculations,” the ruling said.
“The narration of the incidents by witnesses of the ordeal they suffered in the hands of the accused, who was then the governor of Ilocos Norte, are too detailed, even graphic and should not have simply been fabricated by them.”
Fariñas earlier questioned his conviction, insisting that the allegations against him were a mere fabrication considering the inconsistencies in the testimony of the three men.
But the court said that the inconsistencies and contradictions pertain to minor details, which do not affect their credibility.
The appellate court added that these minor inconsistencies are even considered badges of veracity, or manifestations of truthfulness, indicative of an unrehearsed testimony.
The complainants had claimed that they were confined in a small room on April 22, 1989, their hands and feet tied down for 8 to 9 hours. Bona also claimed that he was repeatedly kicked and his head shoved down the toilet bowl by Fariñas before being locked up for three days.
“All these acts were perpetrated by petitioner without any legal ground save for his unfounded and malicious accusations against the complainants, and with abuse of his official functions as governor of the province and the complainants being then employed at the provincial government,” the ruling said.
By Jomar Canlas