Manila court judge will not inhibit from Espinosa drug case
A Manila court judge has denied the motion filed by government prosecutors seeking his inhibition from the case of self-confessed illegal drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa.
In denying the motion, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 26 Judge Silvino T. Pampilo Jr. said that under the Rules of Court, “mere imputation of bias and partiality” is not enough for him to inhibit from the case especially if the allegation has no basis.
“This court has to be shown acts or conducts clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice before it can brand them with the stigma of bias or partiality,” Pampilo said.
Public prosecutors earlier sought Pampilo´s inhibition, accusing him of bias when he issued clarificatory questions that appeared to have helped the defense.
Pampilo acknowledges the significance of the case to both the defense and the prosecutors.
He said all the parties to the case “is in imminent danger of their lives and limbs” as he cited the death of Atty. Jonah John Ungab, Kerwin´s lawyer who was shot dead in Cebu.
Ungab was killed after attending the promulgation of Kerwin´s case where he was acquitted from a case for illegal possession of firearms.
“I will hear this case without fear or favor. There is no merit or legal ground in the allegations of the Public Prosecutor, the motion for inhibition is hereby denied,” Pampilo said.
The charges for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 were originally heard by Branch 14 of the Baybay, Leyte Regional Trial Court but the Supreme Court later ordered its transfer to Metro Manila on the request of the prosecution and defense camps citing security reasons. /muf
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