Prosecutors ordered to prove farmer led 2003 ambush on soldiers in Or. Mindoro
A Quezon City court has ordered state prosecutors to present evidence that Eduardo Serrano, a peasant leader detained since 2004, was the same Rogelio Villanueva or Ka Makling charged for the ambush of Army soldiers in 2003.
Judge Marilou Runes-Tamang of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 98 was following the decision of the Court of Appeals directing the lower court to resolve the issue of identity of the accused.
“The prosecution is sternly warned that should it fail to adduce any evidence in the next scheduled setting, the matter on the identity of the accused shall be deemed submitted for resolution,” Tamang said in a court order issued on Wednesday.
The court subpoenaed the prosecution witnesses, 1Lt. Alex Dalingay Ampati, Sgt. Berling Farinas and Pfc Gilbert Dalin Turingan, all from the Bravo Company of the 68th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Oriental Mindoro.
Serrano was arrested in Lipa, Batangas, and presented by the military as Rogelio Villanueva, one of the accused in the ambush that killed four Army soldiers and wounded one in Oriental Mindoro.
Serrano was transferred to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center when the cases of multiple murder, frustrated murder and robbery were transferred from Oriental Mindoro to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
The defense filed several motions to dismiss the case against Serrano on the ground that he was not Villanueva but these were denied.
In 2011, the prosecution amended the information and attached Eduardo Serrano as among the aliases of the accused Villanueva.
The defense filed for certiorari in the Court of Appeals, which was resolved in Serrano’s favor in July 2015.
“Let it be stressed that this case was inherited by the undersigned judge upon her assumption of office in June 2015,” the court order issued by Tamang said.
The CA decision “effectively orders this court to suspend the arraignment of the accused Eduardo Serrano until the issue of his identity is finally resolved,” Tamang said. “With the decision of the Court of Appeals, the 12 years lull in the proceeding will finally be put to end.” (Erika Sauler, Philippine Daily Inquirer)
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