Manila judge inhibits from case vs fratmen in Atio slay
Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 40 Presiding Judge Alfredo Ampuan has inhibited himself from handling the criminal case against members of the Aegis Juris Fraternity, who are being blamed for the death of University of Santo Tomas (UST) freshman law student Horacio “Atio” Castillo III.
In a seven page resolution, Ampuan said that while imputation of bias or partiality “is not enough ground for inhibition,” he will grant the motion to inhibit to dispel any doubts to the minds of all the accused and their relatives.
“Mere imputations or bias is not enough ground for inhibition. Extrinsic evidence must be presented to establish bias, bad faith, malice or corrupt purpose in addition to palpable error which may be inferred from the decision or order,” Ampuan said.
Respondents John Robin Ramos and Juan Miguel Salamat sought Ampuan’s inhibition because he is the brother-in-law of Dante Jimenez of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
“Notwithstanding the foregoing, this Court finds it appropriate to grant the motion for inhibition considering that all the above-mentioned accused and/or their respective counsel already nurtured any the back of their minds the thought that the Presiding Judge of this Court has now tilted the scales of justice against them,” read Ampuan’s order.
With his inhibition, the case against the 10 Aegis Juris officers and members for violation of the Anti-Hazing Law will be re-raffled to another branch.
All the accused are currently detained at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The return of the warrant will have to wait until the case is assigned to another judge.
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