Aklan radioman’s widow decries VIP treatment of suspect
ILOILO CITY—The widow of slain Aklan broadcaster Heherson “Boy” Hinolan has decried the alleged special treatment being given a former Aklan town mayor detained in Cebu for the radioman’s murder over seven years ago.
Aphrodite Hinolan said a thorough investigation should be conducted and corrective measures should be implemented on the detention of former Lezo town mayor Alfredo “Fred” Arcenio.
“I hope that the court will look into this because we had the case transferred from Aklan to Cebu so he could not exert his power and influence on the case,” Aphrodite told the INQUIRER in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
Arcenio, who was tagged as the lone gunman in the November 2004 killing of Hinolan, was seen in a video leaked last week allegedly holding a birthday party inside the office of the warden of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center.
Last month, he was also caught on video having lunch along with his jail guards and lawyer in a restaurant near the provincial capitol after attending a court hearing.
Hinolan said she would consult with state prosecutors handling the case on what actions to take to prevent similar incidents.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia has directed lawyers of the province to formally ask the Regional Trial Court for the transfer of Arcenio from the province’s jurisdiction after the two incidents, according to lawyer Rory Jon Sepulveda, the governor’s spokesperson.
“We will ask the court that (Arcenio) be transferred from the CPDRC to avoid further vexation or problems on our part. We also want to erase any doubt or suspicion that we are giving him special treatment,” Sepulveda said in a telephone interview.
Garcia had ordered the relief of Algier Comendador and Reynaldo Pepito Jr., former CPDRC warden and assistant warden, respectively, after the first incident.
She has also ordered an investigation on the alleged birthday party of Arcenio inside the warden’s office.
Sepulveda said the governor was still waiting for the results of the investigation to determine if there was any breach in protocol or rules of the jail facility.
But he confirmed that acting jail warden Napoleon Miranda allowed the relatives of Arcenio to meet and eat with the inmate inside the office of the warden.
“They partook of the food but it was not a party,” Sepulveda said.
He said visitation rights for all the CPDRC’s 1,600 inmates have been suspended until the investigation is completed and those found liable sanctioned.
“A lot of jail guards and inmates feel that they are unnecessarily being dragged into the controversy and punished because of one inmate who is not even from our constituency,” Sepulveda added.
Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Gandhi Truja said government prosecutors would seek measures to stop the special privileges for Arcenio but he said they also wanted to avoid delays in the case.
Hinolan, former station manager of dyIN Bombo Radyo in the capital town of Kalibo in Aklan and host of the station”s morning program Bombohanay Bigtime, died on Nov. 15, 2004, two days after he was shot.
Arcenio has repeatedly denied involvement in the killing of Hinolan. The former mayor claimed he was in Lezo town, 7 km from Kalibo at the time of the incident.
The Supreme Court in 2008 granted the request of Aphrodite, media groups and the Department of Justice to transfer the venue of the case to the Cebu City RTC from Aklan on security concerns and fears that witnesses in the case would be vulnerable Arcenio’s influence.
On April 6, 2010, Judge Sylva Aguirre-Paderanga, presiding judge of the Cebu RTC Branch 16, denied the instant motion for bail filed by Arcenio.
She said “the evidence of guilt against the accused as established … has remained strong” despite the recantation of Niño Suñer, the sole eyewitness in the shooting.
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