Thinner, paler Nobleza and Abu partner face Bohol court
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol— Dismissed police officer and her husband who were linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) appeared in court on Friday morning to attend the arraignment of charges filed against them.
But Maria Cristina Brugada Nobleza and Reener Lou Dongon were not able to enter their plea before Judge Jorge Cabalit of RTC Branch 48 in Tagbilaran City due to their pending motion to dismiss the illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against them.
The case stemmed from the C-4 explosive, a detonating cord, a blasting cap and a blasting cap kit from the luggage allegedly owned by Nobleza that was left in the apartment they rented in Barangay Looc, Panglao town last April 24.
The couple went to Bohol to rescue the remaining ASG members who were being hunted down by government troopers following an attempt to set up a base in Inabanga town. They were arrested after driving past a military checkpoint in Barangay Bacani, Clarin town.
Judge Cabalit had not set a new schedule for the arraignment although the prosecution was given 15 days to comment on the motion and the defense.
The couple faced a separate case of obstruction of justice pending before Judge Erwin Magallano Ucat at RTC Tubigon where they pleaded not guilty during an arraignment last June 6.
Both Dongon and Nobleza were heavily guarded by police when they arrived here on separate police vehicles about 8 a.m. on Friday since they were considered “high risk personalities.” Even B. Inting and Miguel Parras streets, which lead to the Hall of Justice, were closed to traffic for security reasons.
They didn’t stay long.
They left the courtroom at 10:40 a.m. and were brought to Bohol District Jail in Barangay Ubujan, Tagbilaran City, in separate police cars before taking a commercial flight back to Manila at 3:50 p.m. on Friday.
Nobleza wore a hijab, a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women, while Dongon who sported a long hair was clad in a grey hood.
Both appeared thinner and paler compared to their previous court appearances.
Sarah Soriano-Hermida, Nobleza’s lawyer, said Nobleza has been suffering from eye problem-headaches and blurred vision.
“Her vision has deteriorated a little bit because she is due for a check-up. She is complaining about that. She asked to be moved so she could be brought to a hospital for her eye check-up,” Hermida said.
Nobleza later told Inquirer that she could not read well and her eye problem was giving her a lot of head pain.
Dongon was also suffering from mouth and head pain due to his dental braces.
“Kasi yung braces nahihirapan siyang kumain so he moved for the removal of his braces para makakain siya (His braces make it difficult for him to eat so he moved for the removal of his braces so he could drink),” said Hermida.
Since Dongon had no legal counsel; a lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) served as his lawyer.
While no family members appeared to be present at the arraignment, some of the people who were curious about them were waiting outside the courthouse.
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