Prosecutors ask Angeles judge to inhibit from Jee Ick Joo case anew
MANILA, Philippines–Government prosecutors again asked for the inhibition of a regional trial court judge who allowed the temporary liberty of the principal accused in the death of South Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo.
In its six page motion, prosecutors led by Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon prodded for the inhibition of Angeles City Regional Trial Court Branch 56 Presiding Judge Zenaida Buan.
This is the second time that the prosecution panel asked Buan to recuse from the case.
Last May 23, the panel of prosecutors sought her inhibition but Buan denied the motion last July 31. The team of prosecutors said Buan denied their motion almost two months after it was filed but they have yet to receive a copy of her order; thus, they opted to file a second motion.
The second motion was filed also upon orders of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Prosecutor General Benedicto Malcontento.
The panel said Buan’s subsequent actions and later orders indicate clear badges of partiality in favor of accused Police Col. Rafael Dumlao and the other accused in the case, such as when she persisted to set periods to file pleadings from both parties despite the opposition of the prosecution who contend that the proceedings be deferred pending the issuance of the order on the motion for inhibition.
“The People and the private complainant are now even more inclined to move for the inhibition of the Presiding Judge. The People and the private complainant have undoubtedly and irretrievably lost their trust and confidence that the Presiding Judge will hear the case with utmost fairness, impartiality and probity,” the latest motion said.
“It is of the firm belief of the prosecution that the Presiding Judge’s issuance of the order dated April 24 granting the petition for bail of accused Supt. Dumlao, despite the positive testimonies of discharged state witness Police Executive Master Sergeant (SPO4) Roy Villegas and PO2 Baldovino that he was part of the conspiracy to the kidnapping for ransom of victim as he was the team leader, their mastermind, and was the instigator of the crime, cast serious doubts on her fairness and impartiality to continue hearing the case,” it added.
The prosecution said that Buan granted Dumlao’s petition for bail despite the fact that Villegas told the court he harassed and even threatened him not to implicate him and not to identify him as one of the perpetrators.
“She peculiarly exhibited bias and prejudice in favor of accused Dumlao. The prosecution cannot but noticed that certain crucial facts were not even recited but instead inexplicably avoided. In this regard, the People cannot state with candor that the Presiding Judge can still undertake her noble role to dispense justice according to law and evidence, without fear or favor,” it said.
Dumlao is facing charges of kidnapping for ransom with homicide, kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and carnapping.
Aside from Dumlao, Police Chief Master Sergeant (formerly SPO3) Ricky Sta. Isabel, and Gerry Omlang, the DOJ also charged Gerardo “Ding” Santiago, owner of the Gream Funeral Services in Caloocan City where the body of the victim was brought, and Villegas for kidnapping for ransom with homicide case.
Villegas was later discharged as State Witness while Santiago’s case was downgraded to being an accessory. /je
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