Local News: Gag Order on Midas On Arles’ Case
Was there a gag order yesterday on Supreme Court administrator Jose Midas Marquez on the case of Kabankalan Judge Henry Arles?
Last Thursday, Marquez gave interviews with the Bacolod media on the case of Arles, but yesterday he did not return text or calls for a follow-up interview.
Lawyer Frank Britanico, spokesperson of the Arles family, said he did not exactly know the reason that Midas did not grant media interviews yesterday.
Maybe he was busy with the Judicial and Bar Council meeting, he said.
Effective last May, Marquez was no longer the spokesperson of the Supreme Court.
His appointment as SC spokesman was co-terminus with Justice Renato Corona.
Marquez was replaced by Ma. Victoria Gleoresty Guerra, who has been named by acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio. Marquez, however, retained his position as court administrator.
Britanico said the granting of Marquez of media interviews is on his personal capacity.
Britanico said lawyer Ria Arles, daughter of the slain judge, had a talk with Marquez recently and asked him the status of the case with the Department of Justice.
After Marquez told her the updates of the case, Ria then asked him if he could grant media interviews, Britanico said.
On Thursday afternoon, Britanico then texted several reporters from newspapers, radios and TVs giving them Marquez’s cell phone number and telling them he is available for interview.
Marquez said in media interviews Thursday that Supreme Court officials are monitoring the case with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) because the murder of Arles was committed in line with his official duty to uphold justice in the country.
Arles, who had received various awards for his speedy disposition of cases in his sala, including the Judicial Excellence Award as an outstanding RTC judge given by the Supreme Court in 2008, was gunned down by motorcycle and tricycle-riding men while he was on his way home to Ilog town last April 24.
Marquez, during his visit to the wake of the slain judge in Bacolod, had announced a cash reward of P200,000 from the Philippine Judges Foundation for the arrest of the suspects.
Marquez said under the guidelines set for the cash reward, half of the P200,000 reward will be released only once the case is filed in court and the remaining P100,000 will be released after the resolution of the case.
The Arles family has also offered a cash reward of P1 million. They have also asked the help of President Aquino for the speedy resolution of the case.
The judge’s sons, Philip and lawyer Albert, have filed murder charges against Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez and nine others before the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila last July 27, based on the recommendation of NBI.
Mayor Alvarez, the son of Negros Occidental Vice Governor Genaro Alvarez Jr. and brother of 6th District Rep. Mercedes Alvarez, was tagged by the Arles family as the mastermind of the crime. The mayor and his family have denied the charges, saying it is politically motivated.
Marquez said they are still awaiting a resolution of the DOJ. Britanico said they have received information that the DOJ would issue a subpoena to Alvarez this week, but this was delayed because the DOJ had no office for three days this week due to floods.
The other suspects namely, Jessie Daguia, Alejandro Capunong, Eddie Fotunado, who are all members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army—Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB), are now in the custody of NBI Manila, while Marvin Salve and Gerald Tabujara, who are both RPA-ABB members, and Emmanuel Medez who is an employee of the Ilog municipal government, are at-large, along with three unidentified suspects, Britanico said.
Meanwhile, Britanico said there are new witnesses who have come out to give statements on the murder of Judge Arles.
"There are new witnesses who have recently approached the Arles family and have volunteered to give additional information and supply evidence regarding the murder of Judge Arles," he said.
Britanico said the new witnesses, in support to the statements of previous witnesses, have also pointed out to Mayor Alvarez as the alleged mastermind of the crime, as well as the alleged involvement of the six suspects named by the NBI.
"We are confident that their information would be able to strengthen the case against Mayor Alvarez and the other accused," he said.
Britanico added they will submit the testimonies of the new witnesses to NBI to verify the information and to be added to the facts in the investigation process.* (DBDangcalan)