Joavan’s lawyer fails to show up, arraignment postponed
THE arraignment of Joavan Fernandez was postponed after his lawyer didn’t show up at the Palace of Justice in Cebu City yesterday.
Wearing an orange prison uniform, Fernandez was escorted by two guards when he arrived at the Palace of Justice at 8:30 a.m.
When lawyer Paulino Labrado didn’t appear for the final call of the case, Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras of Branch 10 advised Joavan to choose from the lawyers present in the courtroom to assist him.
Joavan declined, saying he wanted his own lawyer.
This prompted the judge to reset the arraignment to May 31.
During arraignment, an accused has to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty before trial can get underway.
It would have been Labrado’s first time to enter his appearance as Joavan’s new lawyer.
Joavan earlier said he would no longer be represented by lawyer George Bragat, who had defended him for many years in various criminal charges.
The adopted son of outgoing Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez was supposed to be arraigned on charges of violation of the election gun ban and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
The charges stemmed from Joavan’s arrest on May 6 where a 9mm pistol with four bullets and a grenade were confiscated from his possession.
Joavan was arrested outside the mayor’s house in barangay Bulacao, Talisay City with a bench warrant for skipping his scheduled arraignment in a previous case of physical injuries.
He bolted from the Talisay City Jail two days after the arrest.
Joavan was recaptured last May 20 in a beach resort in barangay Saavedra, Moalboal town. Police said they found a .45 caliber pistol with five rounds of ammunition in Joavan’s possession.
He was returned to his cell in the Cebu provincial jail in barangay Kalunasan.
Prosecutor Raul Cristoria lamented the postponement.
“Our witnesses are public officials. Each time they come here, they have to leave their office work and lose time.”
“Joavan could have chosen from among the lawyers present here. They are all distinguished lawyers.”