‘Edsa hulidap’ hearing reset for 4th time; no Maranao interpreter for complainants
For lack of an interpreter, the judge in charge of the case filed against 10 former policemen accused of involvement in the 2014 Edsa “hulidap” incident postponed Thursday’s hearing on their petition for bail.
According to Judge Carlos Valenzuela of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213, the court was “constrained” to reschedule the proceedings to Jan. 12 next year because the Supreme Court has yet to respond to his request for an interpreter to assist the complainants, Samanodin Abdulgafur and Camal Mama.
Abdulgafur and Mama—who work for a contractor in Lanao del Sur—were supposed to take the stand yesterday as the first witnesses for the prosecution in the bail hearing.
Both men had accused the policemen of surrounding their sport utility vehicle as they were traveling on Edsa in Mandaluyong City on Sept. 1, 2014, arresting them on trumped-up charges and taking the P1.2 million their employee had entrusted to them.
The hulidap incident was captured on camera by a motorist who uploaded it on Twitter. It quickly went viral, leading to the policemen’s identification and arrest. They were later ordered dismissed from the service by the Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service following the filing of robbery and kidnapping charges against them.
“Up to now, I have not received a reply or response for my request for a Maranao interpreter. They (the SC) are the ones who provide that,” Valenzuela told reporters, noting that both the complainants did not complete the elementary grade.
Valenzuela’s decision, however, was protested by lawyers of the accused—former Chief Insp. Joseph de Vera, former Senior Inspectors Allan Emlano and Oliver Villanueva, ex-Insp. Marco Polo Estrera, ex-SPO1 Ramil Hachero and former Police Officers 2 Jonathan Rodriguez, Jerome Datinguinoo, Mark de Paz, Ebonn Decatoria and Weavin Masa.
According to them, their clients who are currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation and Mandaluyong City Jail have the right to a “speedy trial.”
At one point, the judge met with the prosecution and defense in his chambers. He later told reporters that the defense lawyers were against the rescheduling of the hearing as they pointed out that the cases against their clients had been filed in court by the complainants “despite the absence of an interpreter.”
Can’t compel prosecution
“But we cannot compel the prosecution to present the witnesses [in the absence of a Maranao interpreter]. [It] would be irregular for the court to proceed. That is their (prosecution) right also,” Valenzuela added.
He said that should there still be no official interpreter from the Supreme Court on Jan. 12 next year, he would grant the prosecution’s manifestation to present their own interpreter “even in the absence of a counter-interpreter from the defense.”
“We will proceed with the hearings,” Valenzuela added.
According to him, this was the fourth time the proceedings for the bail petition filed by the accused had to be suspended.
Homer Peñada, acting clerk of court, said that on Nov. 26, the court called off the proceedings for the same reason. The first two hearings were also postponed after Mama and Abdulgafur failed to show up in court.
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