Court bars foreign travel by couple in maltreatment caseBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—A Quezon City court has issued a hold departure against a couple accused of serious illegal detention and years of maltreating their maid into blindness.
Judge Germano Francisco Legaspi of Regional Trial Court Branch 77 granted the prosecution’s request for a hold departure order to prevent the spouses Reynold and Analiza Marzan from leaving the country during the pendency of the case against them.
The couple are charged with serious illegal detention in Legaspi’s court and face a string of other charges in connection with their alleged abuse of their former maid, Bonita Baran, in at least two other courts.
In a hearing Friday afternoon, Judge Legaspi said he was issuing the HDO to help the authorities effect the arrest warrants he issued earlier as both accused have not yet been brought under the court’s jurisdiction.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Bureau of Immigration are to be furnished copies of the HDO, Legaspi said in verbal order in open court.
The judge also dismissed the Marzans’ motion for reinvestigation, judicial determination of probable cause and lifting of the arrest warrants. The ruling was based on the Quezon City prosecutors’ denial of a motion to reopen its preliminary investigation.
Assistant city prosecutor Irene Resurrecion explained that only those who underwent inquest proceedings are granted the benefit of a preliminary investigation.
In open court, the judge pointed out that the defense’s motion for judicial determination of probable cause filed by lawyer Jesus Fernandez had already become moot and academic, since the court had already ruled on probable cause with its issuance of the arrest warrants.
As to the appeal for a reinvestigation, Legaspi said the pleading was “bereft of merit” since reinvestigations are granted only if a preliminary investigation was not conducted.
The couple claimed that they were not able to avail themselves their right to a preliminary investigation of the illegal detention charges filed by their former househelp.
Earlier, Legaspi ordered the Marzans’ arrest with no bail recommended.
The couple were absent at Friday’s hearing but in an interview with reporters, Fernandez said he will advise his clients “to face the music and face the charges.” He said his clients were afraid of being arrested.
“Attorney Fernandez, you should bring your clients before this court,” Legaspi told the defense lawyer.
The Marzans, who live in a house on Visayas Avenue in Quezon City, face other charges in connection with the alleged maltreatment of Baran over four years culminating in her going blind in one eye.
Annaliza has also been charged with two counts of attempted homicide in the Quezon City Regional Trial Court and seven counts of serious physical injuries at the Metropolitan Trial Court.
Assistant city prosecutor Ronald Torrijos recommended the charges be filed after finding probable cause against the couple, saying the maid’s account was credible. The couple failed to show up to present their side at preliminary investigation hearings.
The complaint against Reynold as an accessory to serious physical injuries and attempted murder were dismissed due to lack of evidence.
Baran lodged the complaints with the help of the Public Attorney’s Office, saying she was hired by the couple in 2007 and that Annaliza began maltreating her in April 2008.
The alleged maltreatment ranged from strangling her neck, burning her nose with a hot iron and pouring cold water or bleach on her burns and wounds.
Annaliza would allegedly punch Baran’s eyes, which eventually caused blindness in the right eye and dimming sight in the other.
From June 2009 up to May 2010, the Marzans allegedly prevented her from leaving the house and even locked her up inside a dark toilet.
The couple let her go home to the province in May 2012 as Baran was already blind allegedly due to repeated punches.