On June 10, 2009, policemen fished out of the waters off Navotas a steel drum that contained the body of Ruby Rose Barrameda, 27, who had been missing for more than two years.
It was later determined that the victim had been strangled before being stuffed inside the drum and covered with concrete.
The discovery was made following a tip-off from Manuel Montero, who confessed to the crime and alleged that Ruby Rose’s father-in-law, Manuel Jimenez Jr. and his brother Lope ordered the killing amid a spat with her estranged husband, Manuel III, son of Manuel Jr.
Manuel Jr. denied the accusations, saying he had been estranged with his brother, Lope, and could not have masterminded the murder with him. He also said that he did not know Montero, but might recognize him.
In his testimony, Montero, a former employee of the Jimenezes, tagged three others as his alleged henchmen to carry out the murder: Eric Fernandez, Robert Ponce and Lennard “Spyke” Descalso.
On Aug. 24, 2009, the Department of Justice filed murder charges against Manuel Jr., Lope, Montero, Fernandez, Ponce and Descalso at the Malabon-Navotas Regional Trial Court.
In March 2010, the DOJ ordered the filing of parricide charges against Manuel III as a coconspirator in the crime. He later appealed to the Office of the President (OP) for a reversal of the order, but this was rejected.
In February 2012, the Court of Appeals ordered the hearings suspended indefinitely following Manuel Jr.’s petition for inhibition against Malabon City Judge Zaldy Docena for his alleged partiality toward the Barramedas.
In his petition, Manuel Jr. accused Docena, his fraternity brother, of grave abuse of discretion when he granted Montero’s petition that he be allowed to turn state witness.
He also denounced Docena for refusing to keep his hands off the case despite the judge’s ties with head prosecutor Theodore Villanueva, his former classmate at Ateneo Law School.
In May, the Court of Appeals 10th Division granted Manuel Jr.’s petition and ordered the reraffling of the case to another judge.
It also ruled that Montero should not be discharged as a state witness, reversing the earlier decision of Docena.
According to the appellate court, there was no “absolute necessity” for Montero’s testimony since “all the prosecution needs to do is present [him on] the witness stand in order to identify, affirm and confirm what were indicated in [his] two sworn statements.”—Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives