Gatdula no-show at hearing he himself filed
Former National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Chief Magtanggol Gatdula failed to show up at a hearing Tuesday on his petition for amparo, prompting the judge to threaten to dismiss the petition outright.
After nearly two hours of waiting for the Gatdula camp to appear, Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 26 Judge Silvino Pampilo rescheduled the hearing for Wednesday, with the admonition that he would dismiss the case if Gatdula or his representatives fail to show up again.
“[Their absence] is a demonstration of a lack of interest on their part to pursue their petition. If there really was a threat, they will work hard to be here and present evidence for their claims,” said Amparo Cabotaje-Tang, the assistant solicitor general.
Gatdula’s lawyer, Abraham Espejo, explained that their failure to show up Tuesday was because of a schedule mixup.
After the hearing was adjourned, Tang argued that Gatdula’s petition should be dismissed, noting that it must be “insufficient in form and substance” as Pampilo had not immediately granted it.
Gatdula, who was dismissed after he was implicated in the Noriyo Ohara kidnapping case, filed last February 27 a petition for a writ of amparo to restrain Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, NBI officer in charge Nonnatus Rojas and NBI deputy director for technical services Reynaldo Esmeralda, from threatening his life and liberty.
He claimed that De Lima and the NBI are set to accuse him as the mastermind of an ambush attempt on Esmeralda last February 21, which Esmeralda and De Lima have theorized may have been related to the Ohara case.
Ohara, a Japanese national, was illegally arrested by NBI agents last October for being an undocumented alien. She alleged that the NBI had extorted at least P6 million for her release.
A Department of Justice (DOJ) fact-finding panel recommended last January the filing of kidnapping and illegal detention charges against Gatdula and several NBI officers in connection with the Ohara case, which led directly to Gatdula’s dismissal by President Benigno Aquino III.
On February 20, Gatdula was able to obtain a preliminary injunction from the Manila RTC Branch 8 to stop the DOJ from conducting a preliminary investigation against him on the Ohara kidnapping complaint.
He alleged the fact-finding probe was illegal and that it violated, among other things, his constitutional right against self-incrimination, and his right to counsel.
In a motion filed on March 2, the Office of the Solicitor General has asked Manila RTC Branch 8 Judge Felixberto Olalia Jr. to inhibit himself from hearing Gatdula’s petition.
The OSG claimed that in granting the preliminary injunction, the judge showed he had already “prejudged” the main case.
Originally posted: 3:29 pm | Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
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