QC court denies petition for habeas corpus filed by cop linked to trader’s slay
A Quezon City court has junked the bid for freedom of a police official suspected of masterminding last year’s killing of a businesswoman whose body was found inside an abandoned warehouse in Laguna province.
In her April 3 order, Judge Evangeline Castillo-Marigomen of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 101 denied the petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus filed by former National Capital Region Police Office spokesman Supt. Rommel Miranda since the murder case against him was still pending in a Pasig City court.
Miranda, who is detained at Camp Crame, is among five men accused of killing Lea Angeles-Ng, wife of Gaisano Malls-Cebu chief executive officer Tommy Ng.
Her body was found in February 2012 inside a bunker oil tank at an abandoned warehouse in San Pedro, Laguna. The discovery came a month after she was reported missing.
According to one of the accused who has offered to turn state witness, the victim was killed after she and Miranda fought over a P13-million collection that Miranda allegedly refused to turn over to her. The witness claimed that the police official was moonlighting as a debt collector for Ng who had a money-lending business.
In his urgent petition filed last month against Supt. Cesar Magsino, Philippine National Police Custodial Services Unit (CSU) chief in Camp Crame, Quezon City, Miranda said that he and his coaccused—Reginel Regidor Santiago, PO1 Jifford Signap, PO1 Otelio Santos Jr. and Emer Paiste—were charged with murder on May 28, 2012, in the Pasig RTC Branch 153.
Miranda said that in March last year, he was placed under the restrictive custody the PNP Communications and Electronics Services until his transfer in July to Camp Crame.
He explained that he was prompted to file a petition for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus after the Pasig court issued an order on March 5 this year for the withdrawal of the information against him and his coaccused due to lack of jurisdiction over the case.
“In the meantime, petitioner is being restrained of his liberty and held against his will in respondent’s [Magsino] custody. Petitioner’s detention evidently lacking sufficient cause or evidence, the foregoing restraint on petitioner’s liberty by the respondent is without any legal authority whatsoever. Petitioner having been detained since March 7, 2012, or more than a year now, petitioner must not be made to suffer involuntary detention a moment longer. His liberty must forthwith be ordered,” he said.
The Quezon City court, however, found Miranda’s continued detention lawful as the judge said that based on a check made by the court clerk, they found out that the murder case against him and the others was filed in the Pasig RTC and “raffled off to Branch 71 on April 1, 2013.”
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