Custody battle over witness-son delays amparo hearing


The Court of Appeals has postponed the hearing on the writ of amparo petition filed by a newspaper publisher who was tagged by his 16-year-old son as a mastermind in the murder of a Pangasinan mayor last year.

Berteni Causing, lawyer for petitioner Jaime Aquino, publisher of the Urdaneta City-based Northern Express Weekly, said that during the hearing the court’s 17th Division learned that a nongovernment group, Akap Bata-Caritas, had filed in the Manila Regional Trial Court a petition for involuntary termination of custody seeking to get the parental authority over the minor.

“Because the two petitions are colliding with each other, permitting the amparo petition to go ahead and letting the involuntary termination of custody petition proceed at the same time will place the two petitions in the possibility of having decisions colliding with each other. Considering this, I said that the most logical thing to do is to consolidate the two cases,” Causing said in a statement posted on his Facebook account.

Aquino’s son is in the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The boy and his father were present at the 2 p.m. hearing last Friday but did not speak to each other.

Causing said that during the hearing, he requested that all parties be required to submit simultaneous memoranda or position papers. This was approved by the appellate court, which gave the parties five days to do so.

What he heard

Aquino’s son, according to the NBI, claimed he was at a beach house in Bolinao town in November 2011 where he heard his father, Rep. Jesus Celeste, and Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino plotting to kill Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez.

On Dec. 12, 2012, Martinez was shot dead by two motorcycle-riding men hours after a protest rally staged by town residents opposed to a local infrastructure project.

In his amparo petition, Aquino asked the court to release his son to his or the child’s mother’s (Ester) custody. He said his son would not be a credible witness because of his history of drug use, lying and theft.

Aquino added his son had no personal knowledge of the crime nor witnessed it. The publisher said it would be “contrary to habit of life” for a son to seek the imprisonment of his own father.

Aquino also said he feared for the lives of his family, including his son’s, because the congressman and governor’s camps were “extremely angry” at him, thinking he was using his son to implicate them in the killing.—Jerome Aning

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Demy Angeles

    Gov. Espino is a very intelligent man, a graduate of the PMA and a former police officer.  He is not that dumb to talk about a plot to kill someone in front of a man of the press.

    • tagalinis

      The man of the press is his cohort, dumdum!

      • Demy Angeles

        Assuming he is a cohort.  How about the son?  And do you think a man of his stature will talk of such plot in front of people and in a public place, idiot?

    • lagalag

      Being intelligent doesnt mean a good guy. Everybody knows his a gambling lord and a killer.

      • Demy Angeles

        I did not say he is a good guy.  What I said was he is not that DUMB 

      • Barangay Anonang

        he is not a DUMB, right? but he is a GAMBLING LORD AND KILLER.

  • roynilo

    If i am not mistaken this Jaime Aquino is the same guy who accused Archbishop Cruz of sexual molestation couple of years ago in the heat of Arch Cruz expose of the rampant operation of jueteng in pangasinan by Governor Espino

    • Barangay Anonang

      This media man belong to the group attack and collect. but more on collect. 

  • wakats

    This melodrama is worthy of an Agatha Christie mysteries and may end up like Agatha’s best selling novel “And then there were none”….

  • vir_a

    The plot was hatched Nov 2011 and the murder took place in Dec 2012. That’s 13 months gap. The motive had died already, making this accusation baseless.

  • Ngiping Dilaw

    Sa mga naunang report eto sabi; Alam ng bata na may kinalaman sa pagpatay ang tatay nya. Nagaway sila at pinalayas sya ng ama nya. Ang unang ginawa ng bata ay pumunta sa bahay ng kapitbahay at nag facebook message kay Mayor Braganza.Sixteen years old na may problema ,ang tinawagan agad ay si Braganza na kalaban ni Espino. Batang bata pa pero marunong ng lumapit sa pulitiko?

  • Ngiping Dilaw

    Ang sabi ng pamilya ng biktima ay hindi sina Espino ang may gawa ng krimen. NAKAKAPAGTAKA at ipinipilit ng iba na sina Espino. Saan ka nakakita na mismong yung pamilya ng biktima ay ayaw maniwala dito sa anak ni Aquino. Ipinipilit! Seguro ay pilit nilang inihahabol sa election ang kasong ito. Sa Mayo ns election kaya ito ang tamang oras para i sensionalize o palakihin pa lalo yung kaso. Halatang halata na demolition job.

  • Barangay Anonang

    when espino assumes office killing of politicians not belong to his party and gambling group is rampant in pangasinan. one of this victim is roland villegas of san fabian, a well known gambling lord in pangasinan. pinapatay nya si roland villegas para masolo nya ang weting sa district 4. tinik sa lalamunan nila si roland villegas dahil palagi nyang pinapa media ang operation ng weting ni espino sa dist. 4. kinuha kc nila ang weting kay roland kaya sumama ang loob ni roland villegas sa grupo ni espino at para malaya silang magpa weting sa dist 4 pinadukot at pinapatay ni espino si roland villegas.

  • Ngiping Dilaw

    Madali namang sabihin na ipinapatay ni Espino si Pedro si Juan at si Tom. Pwede ko ring sabihin na pinatay nya si Jay, Jim at Jake. Ang mahirap ay paano mapapatunayan.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos