Bacolod Regional Trial Court Judge Eliseo Geolingo has ordered the transfer of Alejandro Capunong , a suspect in the killing of Kabankalan RTC Judge Henry Arles from, the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila, to the Bacolod District Jail.
Capunong, Jessie Daguia and Eddie Fortunado, all members of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, who had confessed but later retracted their statements on their participation in the killing of Arles on April 24, in Ilog, Negros Occidental, have been charged for illegal possession of firearms. They are now under the protective custody of the NBI in Manila.
Geolingo, in his decision, said that Capunong Jr. should be confined in the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) because he is charged before this court and it would impractical and inconvenient for him to be detained in NBI office at Taft Avenue in Manila.
The motion for reduction in the bail of Capunong, filed by his counsel, Romeo Subaldo, from P80,000 to P40,000, will be acted on after his arraignment on Oct. 4, Geolingo said.
NBI Bacolod chief Ferdinand Lavin had earlier written to the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office asking for the transfer of custody of Capunong, Daguia and Fortunado to the NBI Manila office, in view of recent events, they may compromise their security arrangements, due to lack of facilities and manpower in Bacolod City.
Geolingo said it is not for the NBI to decide where the accused is to be confined and once the case is already filed in court, that court has control of the case up to its termination.
Lavin said they have already referred the matter to the NBI central office in Manila, but also said he expects that Capunong will be brought to Bacolod City, before his arraignment on Oct. 4.
Capunong, Daguia and Fortunado, who claimed to have been subjected to alleged torture, while under the NBI custody in Bacolod City, have sought the help of the Commission on Human Rights.
The NBI, however, said the allegations of torture have no basis.
At the resumption of the hearing on a petition for a Writ of Amparo filed by Fortunado’s mother, Tessa, before Bacolod RTC Judge Fernando Elumba, Intelligence Officer Jose Henry Arellano, who took the witness stand yesterday, maintained that Fortunado was not harmed, contrary to claims.
Arellano admitted that he and two other NBI agents fetched Fortunado from Binalbagan on June 27, and he surrendered his firearm, upon their arrival at the NBI Bacolod office.
Subaldo, counsel of Fortunado, however called testimony of Arellano as a “pack of lies” and presented several pictures to the court, showing that the house of Fortunado in Brgy. Tampalon, Kabankalan City, was ransacked, allegedly by NBI agents searching for firearms.
Elumba also granted the motion of Subaldo for the NBI to present Fortunado again to the court on Sept. 27 and 28.
Lavin said they will comply the order.
Ormil Go of the Office of Solicitor General’s Office, the counsel of Arellano, told the court that they will present two more witnesses in the next hearing.
Subaldo said they will also file a motion to reduce bail and for the transfer of Daguia to Bacolod City.
Five RPA-ABB members, including Daguia, Capunong and Fortunado, Ilog Mayor John Paul Alvarez and his administrative aide, are facing a complaint of murder before the Department of Justice, for the killing of Arles. * GPB