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Manila court denies Mikee Romero plea to recall arrest warrant

/ 10:00 PM March 14, 2017

The Manila Regional Trial Court has denied the motion to recall the arrest warrant filed by 1-Pacman party list Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero and Edwin Jeremillio.

“Wherefore…, the Motion to Suspend the Execution of the Warrant of Arrest or Hold its Execution in Abeyance is DENIED for lack of merit.  The Order of Arrest dated January 6, 2017 remains,” states the two-page order issued by RTC Judge Cicero D. Jurado Jr. in his two-page order.

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The arrest order stemmed from the case of qualified theft filed against Romero and two others for allegedly issuing 18 Harbour Centre checks on April 27, 2007, amounting to P3.4 million payable to non-existent payees.

The Manila Court said its “independent assessment of the presence of probable cause to issue an order of arrest is pursuant to the requirement under Section 5 Rule 112 of the Rules of Court.”

Under the said rule, the court is required to make a judicial determination of probable cause within 10 days from the filing of the complaint or information.

“As to the instant motion for reconsideration…this court finds no basis in holding in abeyance or recalling the order of arrest pending the determination of the urgent motion for reconsideration,” the court said.

The court added that the re-investigation on the case has been terminated, thus the motion to withdraw filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) thru Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Peter Ong.

The DOJ’s motion, however, was also denied by the court.

“The said cases only refer to whether there were pending incidents in the DOJ or where there is a temporary restraining order issued by the Court of Appeals in which case by virtue of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts, the courts concerned had to suspend the execution of the respective warrants issued,” the court added.

Aside from Romero and Jeremillo, also accused of the same offense is former HCPTI cashier Felicia T. Aquino, who has petitioned the Court of Appeals for certiorari and prohibition.

Before the inhibition, Judge Bacorro-Villena granted the motion of the accused to suspend proceedings. The accused also pleaded for a re-determination of probable cause, withholding of the issuance of arrest order, and outright dismissal of the charges.

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On Sept. 5, 2016, the DOJ filed a motion to withdraw the information (criminal charge sheet) against the three accused.

With Judge Bacorro-Villena’s inhibition, the cases were assigned to Judge Jurado via raffle.

In issuing the arrest order, Judge Jurado cited a Supreme Court ruling that “once the court acquires jurisdiction, any other proceeding in another agency will have no bearing on the court’s actions on the case, strictly stated, the court has already acquired jurisdiction.”

“The court must follow the provisions of the Rules of Court” (Rule 112), Jurado said.

He pointed out that the City Prosecutor of Manila issued on July 1, 2016 a resolution recommending the filing of qualified theft cases against Romero, Aquino and Jeremillo “for which no bail was recommended.”

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TAGS: Harbour Centre, Manila Regional Trial Court, Philippine news updates, Rep. Michael “Mikee” Romero, warrant of arrest
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