Michael Ray Aquino appears before Manila court for first time
MANILA, Philippines – Michael Ray Aquino appeared before the Manila regional trial court Friday not for his arraignment but for his twin motions for continued stay at the National Bureau of Investigation and for a reinvestigation of the Dacer-Corbito murders for which he is one of the accused.
The prosecution wanted Aquino arraigned since he was already in court but his lawyer, Napoleon Poblador, objected, prompting Manila RTC Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina to set the arraignment on August 1.
“There are motions [for continued stay at the NBI and reinvestigation] that should be resolved first that is why we objected to the proposed arraignment,” Poblador told reporters outside the courtroom because the media were not allowed to cover the proceedings. Thus, he said, tentatively, Manila RTC Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina set the arraignment on August 1.
Five days after he was extradited from the US, Aquino, in blue long-sleeved polo shirt and bullet proof vest, personally appeared before the sala of Judge Medina without handcuffs and was escorted by NBI agents. He is temporarily detained at the NBI, sharing a cell with 20 other inmates.
Poblador said they have submitted additional evidence to support their motion for Aquino’s continued stay at the NBI detention instead of the Manila City Jail.
“We have submitted in court a threat assessment report from the Philippine National Police [PNP] issued June 30. It says that if Aquino stays at the Manila City Jail, his life will be in “grave danger because some members of kidnapping syndicates he sent to prison were at the Manila City Jail,” Poblador said.
Meanwhile, Senior State Prosecutor Philip Kimpo said they did not oppose Aquino’s bid to remain at the NBI.
Kimpo said they agreed with the defense that Aquino’s life would be in danger if he would be mixed with other inmates, especially those that he had sent to prison while serving as a police officer.
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