SC allows transfer of Batocabe murder case to Manila
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has allowed the transfer of the murder trial for the death of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe from an Albay court to Manila.
In a two-page notice, the high court’s second division has granted the request of Batocabe’s widow, Gertrudes, their son Atty. Justice Caesar Anthony Batocabe, and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr.
Their separate letters to the Supreme Court cited the alleged bias of Legazpi City, Albay Regional Trial Court Branch 10 Presiding Judge Maria Theresa San Juan-Loquillano, following her order in August that allowed alleged mastermind, former mayor Carlwyn Baldo, to post bail.
They also cited security concerns for the families of the victims – Batocabe and his police aide Master Sgt. Orlando Diaz – especially that Baldo has already posted bail for his temporary liberty.
“Although there was no proof that accused Baldo would threaten them and there is the indisputable fact that the prosecution was able to freely present its witness during the bail hearings, the fact remains that there is now an apprehension or fear on the part of private complainants regarding the proceedings in the subject cases; that such fear could easily prevent them and their witnesses to freely testify if the trials were to continue in Albay and this may eventually result in a miscarriage of justice,” the SC said.
The high court ordered the Executive Judge of Manila to raffle off the case among the judges in its station after receiving the case records.
Edited by KGA
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