A Quezon City judge has affirmed the legality of the arrest of one of the alleged brains in the abduction and killing of 20-year-old part-time model Julie Ann Rodelas last year.
In her Feb. 8 order, Judge Caridad Walse-Lutero of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 223 said she found no merit in Fernando Quiambao’s argument that his arrest by operatives of the Quezon City Police District’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDU) was illegal.
Quiambao and his girlfriend, Althea Altamirano, are accused of conspiring to kill Rodelas who was abducted on Nov. 6 near the World Trade Center in Pasay City. The victim was brought to a safehouse and then shot to death before her body was dumped on a busy road in Cubao, Quezon City.
The police said that based on their investigation, the victim was murdered because Altamirano had a grudge against Rodelas who she suspected of spreading rumors about her.
In her decision, Lutero said the arresting policemen were able to establish reasonable grounds of suspicion against Quiambao which made his arrest—even without a warrant—lawful.
She added that although the QCPD-CIDU policemen obtained their information about Quiambao’s suspected involvement in Rodelas’ abduction and killing from third persons, this was still “considered within their personal knowledge.”
Quiambao had argued that his arrest was illegal because the police officers did not catch him in the act of committing the crime he was accused of.
He further claimed that the “arresting officers themselves must have personal knowledge of the facts showing that [I] performed the criminal act.”
Lutero, however, said that “personal knowledge of facts” was based on probable cause or an actual belief and reasonable ground of suspicion.
She noted that the police found probable cause against Quiambao as they found evidence that he had bought the food given to Rodelas a few hours before her body was discovered. Found clutched in her hand was the receipt for the burger Quiambao had ordered from a fastfood chain.
In addition, the plate number of the sport utility vehicle which was spotted near the area where Rodelas’ body was dumped was found to be registered to Quiambao’s mother, the judge said.
Tuesday’s hearing, meanwhile, was deferred and reset to March 5 after Quiambao, who is detained at the Quezon City Jail, was a no-show.