Quote for the Week..

"Why are the country’s political leaders quick to act on amending the Constitution to change nationalistic provisions for the benefit of foreigners or to extend their terms of office but are allergic to amending the Constitution to address the people’s aspirations for self-determination?" - Marvic Leonen,Dean of the UP College of Law, in a keynote address delivered at the 1st International Solidarity Conference on Mindanao; March 16-18, 2009 in Davao City, Philippines.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

ARMM cops fail to arrest alleged brains in Esperat slay

COTABATO CITY – Police authorities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have failed to serve the warrants of arrest against the alleged masterminds in the 2005 murder of journalist Marlene Esperat.

Judge Simeon Dumdum of the Regional Trial Court Branch in Cebu had ordered the arrest of Osmeña Montanier, former finance officer of the Department of Agriculture in Central Mindanao and Estrella Sabay, the agency’s accountant.

The two agriculture officials were implicated by one of the four gunmen convicted in the Esperat murder.

ARMM police chief Chief Supt. Joel Goltiao Wednesday said police tried to serve the arrest warrants on Montanier and Sabay but the two could no longer be found.

“Our policemen based in Malabang, Lanao del Sur tried to serve Montanier’s arrest warrant there but he was not around,” Goltiao said.

He said relatives of the suspects told arresting officers that they had no idea where they were.
“Montanier and Sabay’s relatives have no idea if they are hiding abroad or still in the country. But in our area of jurisdiction, we cannot find them,” he said.

The suspects had earlier questioned the issuance of the arrest warrants, citing that their case with the Tacurong RTC for the same incident was already dismissed on Aug. 31, 2005.
However, Dumdum upheld the issuance of the warrants, saying his court had assumed jurisdiction when the Supreme Court directed the transfer of the venue from Tacurong to Cebu.
Lawyer Nena Santos, the private prosecutor in the Esperat case, said she had already expressed apprehension about the delay in the serving of the warrants.

“I am afraid we will end up prosecuting the case without the masterminds,” Santos said.
Esperat, a journalist for the weekly Midland Review, was gunned down inside her house in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat while having dinner with her family on March 24, 2005.
She was believed killed because of her exposes about alleged corruption in the agriculture department, including the fertilizer scam.

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