SC upholds court ruling on Barrameda slay witness
MANILA, Philippines—The Supreme Court has upheld a Malabon judge’s decision to make one of the accused in the killing of Ruby Rose Barrameda a state witness.
According to the high court’s Second Division, Judge Zaldy Docena did not act with grave abuse of discretion when he ordered the discharge of Manuel Montero as a state witness.
In his sworn confessions executed in 2009, Montero named Barrameda’s father-in-law Manuel Jimenez Jr. as one of those who conspired to abduct and murder her in 2007.
He later provided the police with information that led to the recovery of her body which had been placed in a steel drum and thrown into the waters off Navotas City.
In July 2010, the judge approved the prosecution’s petition to make Montero a state witness, prompting Jimenez to go to the Court of Appeals.
The appellate court ruled in Jimenez’s favor in May 2012 although it reversed its decision when the prosecution filed a motion for reconsideration. This led to Jimenez filing a petition in the Supreme Court.
According to the high court’s decision written by Justice Arturo Brion, Montero’s discharge as a state witness was “procedurally sound.”
As for Jimenez’s petition to declare the case he filed before the high court moot following Montero’s retraction of his testimony in February 2013, the justices said that their ruling pertained only to the allegation that the lower court judge committed grave abuse of discretion in discharging Montero as a witness.
“The appreciation of [Montero’s] notice of withdrawal properly belongs to the trial court,” they added.
Montero has not been seen in public since he retracted his testimony.
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