Reverse Barrameda ruling, gov’t petitions appeals courtBy Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Government lawyers have asked the Court of Appeals to reverse its decision barring Manuel Montero, the self-confessed killer of Ruby Rose Barrameda, from becoming a state witness, arguing that rules for his discharge as an accused had been “sufficiently complied with.”
In a motion for reconsideration, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said Montero was the only person who could link Barrameda’s estranged husband, Manuel Jimenez III, and his father, Manuel Jr., to the crime.
“The brutal killing of Ruby Rose Barrameda was not meant to be discovered. It is only the testimony of Montero, who earlier came forward and confessed to the crime, which provided direct evidence to the conspiracy and identities of the perpetrators,” Jardeleza said.
For this reason, Montero’s testimony was an “absolute necessity,” the Solicitor General said.
No direct testimony
“In plain words, if Montero does not testify as a state witness, there will be no direct testimony linking to the crime the others accused and those who are truly guilty for the gruesome death of Ruby Rose may be allowed to go free,” he said.
Montero, a former employee of the Jimenezes, led authorities in 2009 to Barrameda’s body, two years after the victim disappeared.
The Solicitor General said the Court of Appeal’s ruling would only benefit the Jimenezes.
“Montero’s discharge is being blocked in the hope that he will refuse to take the witness stand and thereby giving no evidence against petitioner [Manuel Jr.] and his other co-accused,” Jardeleza said.
Grave abuse of discretion
The Court of Appeal’s 10th Division also granted the petition of Manuel Jr. calling for the re-raffling of the case following the refusal of Malabon City Judge Zaldy Docena to inhibit himself from the case.
The Court of Appeals backed Manuel Jr.’s claim that Docena committed grave abuse of discretion and agreed with the petitioner’s contention that not all the conditions in Section 17, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Court for the discharge of an accused were not complied with.
The appeals court also ruled that there was no absolute necessity for the testimony of Montero as a witness since he could testify and shed light on the conspiracy without being discharged as a state witness and that he would only be repeating what he stated in his sworn statements.