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Markham

The "ella Joy Pique Case" - An Update

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I received a PM a few days ago asking what the current situation is.

 

Bella Santos' Bail Hearings were completed at the beginning of December and it was then up to both sides to submit to each other and the Court their Memorandums which summarise their respective cases. I haven't yet seen the Prosecution's Memorandum but I have seen the Defence's which is a complete surgical dissection of the Prosecution's case built solely on the testimonies of "witnesses"; it is very thorough and compelling.

 

There was a hearing on January 21 which was scheduled to be a Pre-Trial Conference for the trial proper. However the two Prosecution lawyers, who bothered to put in an appearance (they often field 2 or 3 Fiscals and up to 4 private prosecutors), arrived in Court totally unprepared and even refused to divulge their list of six witnesses they intend to call during the trial proper. The Judge was persuaded by Defence arguments that the witness list should be disclosed and ordered the only Fiscal in Court to hand it over there and then. No decision as to whether Bail has been granted has been made but the Defence team believes that the Judge will issue her ruling before the next hearing on March 11. That hearing will be the Pre-Trial Conference and the trial itself is set to proceed in April, although no date has yet been given.

 

It is quite likely that one of the items on the agenda at the March hearing will be to clarify whether or not Ian Griffiths will be tried in his absence or whether it will be just Bella's. One question I am sure the Judge will want answering in Court is whether or not an application has been made to the British Government for Griffith's extradition and if so, how was that resolved. As of now, the British Government has not been approached despite a senior Prosecutor's 20 month-old claims that they have been. As both Griffiths and Santos are named on the same indictment, the Judge could require that the Prosecution side obtains custody of Griffiths before the trial can commence. There is no provision in the Philippine Constitution's Bill of Rights for trials in absentia - where one or more fendendants are absent.

 

Provided there is no political interference, the Defence is confident that the Judge is persuaded that there is little or no substance to the Prosecution case and grants Bail. She is charged with non-Bailable offences but the Judge was persuaded by Defence arguments that the Prosecution case against her is so weak and agreed to consider Bail in her case. If Bail is granted, this will be a major problem for the Prosecution and might have to reconsider the viability of its case.

Edited by Markham
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Thanks for the update.

 

I guess the Philippines Constitution's Bill of Rights doesn't contain the right to a speedy trial.  How many more months or years before the defendants are either declared innocent or found guilty?  This is ridiculous to take so long especially when an innocent person could be wasting their life sitting in jail.

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And yet 4 Filipino `s who committed murder on an American are out on bail ?.

 

Its more fun in the Philippines 

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And yet 4 Filipino `s who committed murder on an American are out on bail ?.

 

Its more fun in the Philippines

Ah but that victim was a foreigner, not a Filipino.
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For me, the most disturbing aspect of this case and similar cases is that the prosecution attorneys, after a reasonable investigation, MUST realize that the person(s) charged are not the guilty ones. But rather than admit this and then dismiss, they then stone wall and delay and try to protect the jobs of the original investigators who made a false arrest.

 

Outright perjury is not encouraged by the court, but then not not prosecuted either. Very telling as to the quality of the person employeed as a judge or prosecuter.  

 

And, not to start up THAT post again about the 'protection' given to investigators / police who are 'acting in good faith' in going after supposed sex traffickers.... :hystery: but this conduct, so far allowed by the judge in the Ella Joy case, is simply business as usual in the court system. The old story of a boy who catches a skunk under a wash tub. Sure.. you caught the skunk... but NOW WHAT! Very easy to charge for crimes not permitted, but then since there is a civil liability issue for those police who make a false arrest, there is no easy way to dismiss the charges without a negative (as there should be) side for the arresting / investigators.   

 

That's why (advert) SMART travelers NEVER leave home with out fake ID! :thumbsup: Mine says Sir Thomas Jake Bundermeister Periwinkle IV and shows a pic of a 84 yr old black woman... so far... not any problems. Issued from my home state of Floridale. Never even questioned over it by the doorman at the bars. Works like magic! :dance:

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For me, the most disturbing aspect of this case and similar cases is that the prosecution attorneys, after a reasonable investigation, MUST realize that the person(s) charged are not the guilty ones. But rather than admit this and then dismiss, they then stone wall and delay and try to protect the jobs of the original investigators who made a false arrest.  

 

This happens in the USA also. Sometimes motivated by the political aspirations of the prosecutor or not wanting to admit a mistake was made. In some cases admitting to a mistake would make a federal civil rights lawsuit easier to win for those falsely accused/prosecuted/abused.

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For me, the most disturbing aspect of this case and similar cases is that the prosecution attorneys, after a reasonable investigation, MUST realize that the person(s) charged are not the guilty ones. But rather than admit this and then dismiss, they then stone wall and delay and try to protect the jobs of the original investigators who made a false arrest.  

 

This happens in the USA also. Sometimes motivated by the political aspirations of the prosecutor or not wanting to admit a mistake was made. In some cases admitting to a mistake would make a federal civil rights lawsuit easier to win for those falsely accused/prosecuted/abused.

 

I agree Earthdome, the sad state of conduct by prosecutors... wait, there are people shouting in the back and I can't think straight... OK, where was I? Oh yes the poor conduct of... Wait, sorry Earthdome, more shouting and well, sounds almost like chanting....

 

I will close the window so I can hear myself think. Ok, again... I am really wondering why the judges and system refuse to hold accountable, beyond a simple 'scolding' of the attorneys.. so tha... Wait! more shouting outside.... Can't seem to get a word in edgewise.... chanting over and over... let me go and see what all the fuss is about... Be right back!

 

Back now... seems they are all chanting something about ''We are ALL George Zimmerman" or something like that.... So what was I saying before the shouting and chanting started?? Oh hell, forget it. Can't be as important as that ruckus about that George Zimmerman being falsely accused....    

Edited by Bruce
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The Judge in this case, Judge Ester Veloso, has actually been pretty fair so far - as was her predecessor, Executive Judge Paredes. Over the last year or so, she has granted the Defence motions that matter and, during testimonoies, has over-ruled the Prosecution more times than the Defence.

 

I forgot to mention in my OP that the Defence team has let it be known that one of its witnesses will be a certain Ernest Digal. An interesting choice as he was the PNP Director on Cebu at the time Ella Joy died and he led the original investigation that led to Sven Berger and his fiancee, Karen Esdrelon, being charged with her kidnap and murder. Digal was sacked by the Governor when she learned that he'd been somewhat economical with the truth regarding CCTV tapes at the Waterfront Hotel.

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The Judge in this case, Judge Ester Veloso, has actually been pretty fair so far - as was her predecessor, Executive Judge Paredes. Over the last year or so, she has granted the Defence motions that matter and, during testimonoies, has over-ruled the Prosecution more times than the Defence.

 

I forgot to mention in my OP that the Defence team has let it be known that one of its witnesses will be a certain Ernest Digal. An interesting choice as he was the PNP Director on Cebu at the time Ella Joy died and he led the original investigation that led to Sven Berger and his fiancee, Karen Esdrelon, being charged with her kidnap and murder. Digal was sacked by the Governor when she learned that he'd been somewhat economical with the truth regarding CCTV tapes at the Waterfront Hotel.

 

Yes, I think you posted about the tapes being 'alabi evidence' and not admissible in a past topic on the forum. This is what is criminal behavior to me in that even when faced with prrof they got the wrong guy... they try to discredit or ignore the proof rather than admit a mistake was made.  

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There was a hearing yesterday, June 3, at which the prosecution should have rested its case. However, I understand that at an off-the-record discussion between the Judge, Fiscal Abarca who is the 'resident' State Prosecutor for this case and the lead defence attorney, a rather disturbing matter arose. Fiscal Abarca stated that the State will be filing an Inhibition against the Judge but would not disclose the reason. The Judge replied that if she inhibited herself, she would earn the ire of the other Family Court Judges due to the high profile nature of this case. She also let the Fiscal know she was very pissed-off by the prosecution's tactics.

During the hearing itself, the State admitted that its case is weak and to remedy this, sought leave to call 5 more witnesses, three of whom are Police Officers. The Judge agreed to allow the Prosecution to present its additional witnesses.

Shortly after the hearing concluded, the defence filed a formal objection:

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

REGIONAL TRIAL COURT

7th Judicial Region

Branch 6

Cebu City

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES ,

Plaintiff, CRIMINAL CASE NO. CBU-92962

-versus- For: Kidnapping with Homicide

IAN CHARLES GRIFFITHS &

BELLA RUBY SANTOS .

Accused.

X------------------------------------X

RESPECTFUL MANIFESTATION FOR CONTINUED OBJECTION

COMES NOW the Accused, through the undersigned defense team, unto this Honorable Court, most respectfully avers, THAT:

1. The March 11, 2013 Pre-Trial Order clearly states that the prosecution will present 3 witnesses for the main case, namely: Bryan Brizo, S/INSP Leonides Casul and Renante Pique. No prior reservation of additional witnesses was made by the prosecution;

2. Now that the last prosecution witness S/INSP Casul was already presented, the prosecution should not and must not be allowed to present 5 witnesses more for the following reasons:

1. Such 5 witnesses are not stated in the pre-trial order, thus, a violation;

2. Presentation of such witnesses are violates the right of the Accused for speedy trial and is a clear unfair surprise on the part of the defense;

3. The Accused should not be made to suffer for the incompetence of the entire prosecution team in failing to prove herein felony in the main case by allowing it to present those witnesses;

4. Such additional 5 witnesses amount to fishing expedition for evidence and a clear prosecutorial misconduct on all members of the prosecution team; &

5. It is Atty. Dela Cerna who controls the prosecution and its team in contrast with the rules on criminal procedure.

3. In the event the defense should conduct extensive and rigorous cross-examinations upon these 5 additional witnesses, this shall never be construed as a waiver to such prosecutorial misconduct by the prosecution.

4. With all due respect, even of the court allows the presentation of these 5 witnesses, the defense hereby most respectfully manifests that both Accused register their continued objection.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that this manifestation be noted and a continued objection be registered.

Respectfully submitted this 3rd day of June 2013 at Cebu City , Philippines .

For the Accused:

THE VRU&M LEGAL TEAM

[VILLAGONZALO, REGIS, UBOD & MACEREN]

Room 302 K&J Bldg.

J. Llorente St. [beside Palladium Suites]

6000 Cebu City

Tel. No. [032] 255-1588

RAMESES VICTORIUS G. VILLAGONZALO Attorney’s Roll Number: 48716, May 3, 2004 IBP Lifetime Roll No. 07841, 5/30/08 PTR No. 2681474, 01/02/13, Cebu Province MCLE Compliance No. IV- 8607, 10/23/12 e-mail address: ram_oakwood@yahoo.com

GERARD ANTHONY C. REGIS

Attorney’s Roll No. 59853, March 22, 2012

PTR No. 2681474, 01/02/13, Cebu Province

IBP Lifetime OR No. 882817, 06/1/12, Cebu City

MCLE Compliance No. IV-8606, 10/23/12

Copy furnished:

HON. JEROME ABARCA

RESIDENT TRIAL PROSECUTOR

RTC 6, Cebu City 6000

RECEIVED:___________

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