Local News: NBI Expected to Present Arles Slay Suspect in Court Hearing Tomorrow
‘We Cannot Defy the Order of the Court’ Says NBI’s Ferdinand Lavin
Will the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) bring suspect Eddie Fortunado to a court hearing tomorrow, or face contempt?
"We cannot defy the order of the court," NBI Bacolod head Ferdinand Lavin said last Thursday (Aug. 16), immediately after the summary hearing, when asked if they will bring Fortunado to a court hearing which has been reset tomorrow (Aug. 22).
Lavin said there is no reason for the NBI not to comply with the order of the court, but, they will take the matter up with the higher management of the NBI.
Regional Trial Court Branch 42 Judge Fernando Elumba ordered the NBI and its legal counsel, Ormil Go, to bring Fortunado during tomorrow’s hearing, or the court will slap them for contempt.
Fortunado is one of the 10 suspects in the murder of Kabankalan Judge Henry Arles last April 24. He, Jessie Daguia, and Vincent Capunong are under the custody of NBI Manila.
Tessa Fortunado, mother of Eddie, has filed a petition for Writ of Amparo against NBI director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, Lavin, and NBI agents Syrus Aluzan and Modesto Orestes Cajita.
Elumba granted the petition on August 9, and ordered the NBI to "produce the living body of Fortunado and to explain why he is being restrained of his liberty as well as why torture is being inflicted on his person, and to produce all documents that may have been signed by Fortunado during his confinement under the custody of NBI."
Go, during the summary hearing last week, questioned the order of Elumba, saying the Writ of Amparo applies only to extra-legal killings and enforced disappearances.
"I wonder what we are doing here?" Go told Elumba, adding that "There was killing but the subject was not the one who died. He has not even disappeared."
He added that the relatives of Fortunado were able to visit them at NBI Manila.
Romeo Subaldo Sr., counsel for Tessa, disagreed with Go’s manifestations, saying the contents of the petition to a Writ of Amparo also includes the right to life and liberty.
Section 5 of The Rule on the Writ of Amparo states that the contents of the petition for such Writ may include "the right to life, liberty and security of the aggrieved party violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of the respondent, and how such threat or violation is committed."
Elumba told Go to "peruse (his) August 9 order."
When asked why they were not able to present Fortunado last Thursday, Lavin said they still have one more day (August 17) to file their verified reply to the Writ.
Lavin maintained that the three suspects, who are facing murder charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the killing of Arles, have sought protective custody with the NBI because they fear for their lives.
The Arles family has charged the three suspects, along with Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez, whom they tagged as the alleged mastermind of the crime, as well as Marvin Salve, Gerard Tabujara, Emmanuel Medez, and three other unidentified suspects, before the DOJ for the murder of the judge.
Meanwhile, lawyer Frank Britanico, spokesperson of the Arles family, said the DOJ was not able to issue subpoenas against the suspects last week because it was not able to hold office due to floods.
Britanico said they expect the DOJ to issue the subpoena this week.*