Negros Occidental town vice mayor, husband granted bail, freed
BACOLOD CITY — After almost seven months in detention, Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia Yulo of Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental and her husband, Felix Mathias Segundo Yulo III, were granted bail and released from jail on Friday.
In his 12-page order, Judge Edgar Tupas of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Occidental Branch 46 said the prosecution’s evidence against the accused was not strong.
Each of the accused paid bail of P10,000 each.
The Yulo couple were charged for possession of firearms and explosives after guns and two grenades were seized in their Mitsubishi Strada at a police checkpoint in Moises Padilla on Dec. 19, 2017.
On Sept. 11, 2018, the couple surrendered to Brig. Gen. John Bulalacao, director of the Police Regional Office in Western Visayas.
The vice mayor said then that the charges against them for illegal possession of explosives and firearms were based on planted evidence to harass her politically.
Judge Tupas said the evidence of the prosecution opposing the petition for bail was primarily based on the testimony of Police Senior Master Sergeant Ricardo Dingcong Jr.
The judge said the prosecution witness and explosives expert Denny Montoya merely identified in court two grenades but the public prosecutor did not elicit any testimony from him linking the explosives to those said to have been seized from the vehicle of the accused.
Dingcong was also not recalled to the witness stand to identify the grenades produced by Montoya as the ones recovered from the vehicle.
“The right to make a formal offer of the grenades that are the subject of Criminal Case 5456 was also waived by the prosecution on Feb. 28, 2019,” the judge said.
“Clearly, then, the existence of the explosives seized from the vehicle had not been established by the prosecution,” he added.
Tupas also said the items seized from the vehicle of the accused were inadmissible as evidence because they were products of an illegal warrantless search and seizure.
Also, Dingcong was in civilian attire during the conduct of the checkpoint in violation of Rule 11.1 of the 2013 Revised PNP Operational Procedures, the judge noted.
Mark Garcia, the brother of the vice mayor, said his sister, who is running for mayor of Moises Padilla, would return to the town soon to campaign.
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