Navy officers want indictment junked
The Navy officers charged with the murder of Ensign Philip Pestaño on Thursday challenged the Office of the Ombudsman’s decision finding them liable for the death of their colleague, and claimed they were the victims of an attempt to cover up Pestaño’s suicide.
The accused officers also asked the Sandiganbayan to admit their motion for reconsideration on the Ombudsman’s ruling.
In their motion, the officers said Pestaño died by his own hand.
They said they have no motive to kill Pestaño, but that he had a reason to commit suicide.
The family just refuses to accept that Pestaño took his own life, and has engaged in propaganda to malign the Navy and its officers, the officers said.
They further alleged that the Pestaño family and his classmates at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) are conspiring to cover up the real cause of Pestaño’s death at the expense of the accused.
Because of this, the officers said they were forced to file complaints against Pestaño’s classmates for the cover-up.
Those charged with murder for Pestaño’s death were Capt. Ricardo Ordoñez; Cmdr. Reynaldo Lopez, Hospital Man 2 Welmenio Aquino, Lt. Cmdr. Luidegar Casis, Lt. Cmdr. Alfrederick Alba, machinery repairman 2 Sandy Miranda, Lt. Cmdr. Joselito Colico, Lt. Cmdr. Ruben Roque, PO1 Carlito Amoroso and PO2 Mil Leonor Igcasan.
Pestaño was found dead in his cabin aboard the BRP Bacolod City on Sept. 27, 1995, with a gunshot wound on his head.
According to the accused, Pestaño had attempted to kill himself a few weeks before his death.
They said that on Sept. 10, 1995, Pestaño, who was found with a “deliberately slashed wrist,” had reason to commit suicide because of the administrative complaint filed against him by his fiancee on May 11, 1995.
They said Pestaño’s classmates, Ensigns Joselito de Guzman ad Robert Bosch, knew of his depressive mood and brought him to Camp Navarro General Hospital in the Zamboanga City for treatment.
He was later referred to Lt. Col. Jose del Rosario, a neuro-psychiatrist and psychologist, for further examination because of his suicidal tendencies, they said.
They added that Pestaño’s classmates knew from the start that he was depressed and wanted to end his life because he found his problems unbearable.
This problem, they alleged, stemmed from the fact that Pestaño’s father, Felipe, disapproved of Pestaño’s first girlfriend supposedly because she had a different religion. They said Pestaño heeded his father’s wishes and broke up with her, and then entered into a relationship with another woman who his parents favored.
The accused also said the loss of six pillows and undocumented lumber aboard the ship also added to Pestaño’s depression. They said he was concerned that he could face administrative proceedings because of this.
The Navy officers also said there was no conspiracy to commit murder, but there was an attempt to cover up the deteriorating mental condition of Pestaño.
They said Pestaño’s classmates tried to hide his suicide attempts because they felt guilty for failing to stop him from taking his own life.
His parents, on the other hand, do not want to accept that Pestaño killed himself because of their “constant meddling into his life and love affair,” they said.
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