My Christmas wish
THIS columnist is begging the Supreme Court to order the lower court in Olongapo City to expedite the release of Torgeir Hoverstad, a Norwegian photographer wrongly accused of human trafficking and child abuse.
Hoverstad is neither my friend nor acquaintance. Although I’ve interviewed him over the phone twice, I’ve never met him.
I came to know about Hoverstad from the guilt-stricken 17-year-old girl who came to my office to say that she was coached by a syndicate to frame up Hoverstad.
The girl said she had retracted her accusation against the Norwegian in open court but the judge who handled the case, Jose Bautista Jr., didn’t acquit Hoverstad on the spot.
The girl said she was 15 years old at the time she was picked by the syndicate to fabricate a story against the poor Norwegian.
I asked why she came to me, and she said she felt sorry for Torgeir whom she never met before she came face to face with him at the police station, and then at the Olongapo Prosecutor’s Office.
She said she was paid to testify falsely against the Norwegian.
After hearing her story, I took the girl to the national police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Camp Crame to check on the veracity of her tale.
Chief Supt. Victor Deona, CIDG chief, sent agents to Olongapo City to look into the girl’s story, which the agents confirmed.
Even after writing about Hoverstad’s plight in this column, the Norwegian remains in jail.
I’m appealing for Hoverstad’s release because he’s a victim of a false accusation, of man’s cruelty to another.
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Hoverstad is spending Christmas in jail again because it seems the high court has not assigned another judge to replace Judge Bautista, who has been suspended for an administrative charge.
It’s an injustice to keep an accused man in jail after he’s been proven innocent.
It’s worse when you keep an innocent man in jail just because his release should go through the “due process” of law.
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If I may have another wish this Christmas it’s for former Sen. Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. to see the light regarding the death of Ensign Philip Pestaño and side with the Navy officers and men accused of murdering the young officer.
Pimentel is the private prosecutor in the Pestaño “murder” case.
The 10 Navy officers and enlisted men, who are detained at the Philippine Marine camp in Fort Bonifacio, are innocent.
Pestaño was found dead in his cabin aboard BRP Bacolod City with a bullet wound in his head.
It was a case of suicide, but his parents claim he was killed by his shipmates to cover up alleged irregularities aboard the Navy ship.
Weeks before his death, Pestaño reportedly slashed his wrist in a suicide attempt and was confined at the Southern Command headquarters hospital in Zamboanga City.
If there really was a conspiracy to murder the young Pestaño, one of the accused would have squealed by now and volunteered to become state witness.
But none of them will ever come forward to become a state witness because Pestaño was never murdered.
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The nine-day “Simbang Gabi” (dawn Mass) started on Wednesday.
Expect many births nine months from now, in September, 2016.
The dawn worship has become an occasion for a romantic rendezvous for young lovers.