Dalia Pastor questions arrest order at Court of Appeals
THE WIDOW of slain race car driver Ferdinand “Enzo” Pastor, who has yet to surface since being tagged a suspect in his murder last year, is asking the Court of Appeals to dismiss the charge for lack of probable cause and annul the arrest order issued against her by a Quezon City court.
In a 48-page petition filed by her lawyers, Dalia Pastor argued that the arrest order was “issued with grave abuse of discretion” on the part of the judge and that the only evidence against her so far came from another accused who later retracted his statement.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) in February cited “interlocking circumstantial evidence” to indict Dalia and her alleged lover, Domingo “Sandy” de Guzman III, for allegedly plotting the ambush that killed Pastor on the night of June 12, 2014, at a Quezon City intersection.
In March, more than nine months after the killing, Pastor was ordered arrested by Judge Lita Tolentino-Genilo of Quezon City Regional Trial Court-Branch 91 for the nonbailable crime of parricide.
Genilo also ruled to consolidate the parricide case with the murder case filed against De Guzman before Judge Luisito Cortez of the QC RTC Branch 85.
The following month, a warrant of arrest was issued by Cortez against De Guzman for murder. De Guzman has been out on bail since September 2014 in connection with another case, for illegal possession of firearms, that stemmed from the incident.
Cortez was named a respondent in Dalia’s petition in the CA.
The petition assailed the local court for proceeding with the trial against her, saying it had “contravene(d) the Rules of Evidence.”
“By allowing Dalia’s flimsy indictment to push through and requiring her to prove her defense at a trial on the merits, respondent judge is essentially requiring Dalia to prove the absence of a conspiracy, the absence of her complicity. In short, respondent judge is requiring Dalia to prove her innocence,” it said.
The petition noted how the investigating prosecutor, in a resolution later upheld by the trial court, used statements from PO2 Edgar Angel, the alleged gunman who had implicated Dalia and De Guzman as the masterminds. Angel later recanted his extrajudicial confession, claiming it was executed under duress, but the DOJ went on to charge him also with murder.
“There is nothing else which links Dalia to this crime. Yet from these statements the prosecution has insinuated a criminal conspiracy between Dalia, Angel and Sandy,” the petition added. “But the evidence does not support this. In the first place, Angel has retracted his two statements and has disclosed that he was tortured and coerced into signing them.”
The petition also tried to justify Dalia’s absence throughout the proceedings, asking why “a person falsely accused of a crime, and who is availing of her remedies to avoid unjust incarceration, should first relinquish that liberty she is fighting for in the first place.”
“Prosecution will claim… that Dalia is a ‘fugitive’ who cannot seek affirmative relief from the courts. This is an argument borne of ignorance. For the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that except in applications for bail, a person accused of a crime does not have to be under arrest to seek judicial relief.”
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