Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia Yulo of Moises Padilla town in Negros Occidental and her husband Felix Mathias Segundo Yulo III, surrendered to the police regional director at the Bacolod City Police Office at Magsaysay Avenue in Bacolod City, at about 9:15 a.m. yesterday.
Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Police Regional Office-6 director, said the Yulos will be presumed innocent until proven guilty by the court of law.
“We take their act of voluntarily surrendering as a manifestation of respect for the rule of law and the justice system,” Bulalacao said.
“We assure the couple that their rights shall be upheld and that they will be duly accorded with the due process of law,” he added.
The Yulos, both of Barangay Poblacion in Moises Padilla, had pending arrest warrants for illegal possession of explosives, and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Judge Cyclamen Jison-Fernandez of the La Carlota Regional Trial Court on August 20 issued the warrants for the Yulos for charges of possession of two guns and two grenades while on board a Mitsubishi Strada at a police checkpoint in Moises Padilla on Dec. 19, 2017.
No bail was granted in the case for possession of grenades, while bail was set at P200,000 each for the charges for illegal possession of guns.
Vice Mayor Yulo said they did not surrender immediately after they learned about the warrants because of safety issues.
“Now that safety is guaranteed, I will need to face this because this is just political harassment, they planted the evidence so I will not run,” Yulo said.
The vice mayor said she already had a chance to run because they were released from jail in January, and the warrants of arrest were issued only in August, so she had several months to prepare for that, if she had intentions to run.
“But we are here to face it,” Yulo told the media at the BCPO’s conference room.
Her husband, meanwhile, said that they had no intention to hide because they have not done any wrong, and that he hoped they will attain justice.
Vice Mayor Yulo said her family had long been prepared for any harassment when they decided to join politics, and these happenings are part and trials of living.
“Prayers made us strong because at first it was so hard to look for help. No matter what, life goes on and we need to face this,” Yulo said.
Asked if she believed that these trials will end, she said, “Of course! Just like the song Ang lahat ay may katapusan (All things have an ending),” which she also sang.
She said they had to surrender first, to start their legal fight until it ends.
The Yulos were subjected to the fingerprints specimen procedure and their mug shots were taken at the BCPO headquarters, before they were escorted by policemen from the Bacolod City Mobile Force Company and Special Weapons and Tactics Unit, to the Bacolod Police Station 8 for blotter purposes.
They then proceeded to the La Carlota RTC, the issuing court.
Karol Joseph Chiu, their lawyer, said the Court granted permission for his clients to be detained at the La Castellana Police Station custodial facility, where they believe they will be safe.
Chiu also said that they have filed a motion for bail since his clients are innocent of the charges against them.
The hearing of the motion for bail is on Friday, Chiu added.
As to the security of the couple, Bulalacao said the Philippine National Police is capable of protecting them and he is also assuring them of their safety.
NOT GOOD EXPERIENCES
Vice Mayor Yulo said the original plan was to surrender in La Castellana, but she would rather surrender to Bulalacao, so their nearest point was in Bacolod.
Yulo said they had several “not good experiences” with the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, at the time when she and her husband were detained, so they opted to go to the BCPO so they could surrender to Bulalacao.
“They texted me and they sent surrender feelers, so I acceded, and there was also help from the Department of Interior and Local Government for us to facilitate their surrender,” Bulalacao said.
He said he will ask Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil about the “bad experiences” of the Yulos with them.
Maybe one of the bad experiences was the evidences allegedly recovered from the Yulos, that they claimed were planted. Maybe that is the reason why the vice mayor does not trust the NOPPO, Bulalacao said.
Yulo said she has taken an indefinite leave as vice mayor, while facing the charges against her.
She thanked DILG Undersecretary Martin Diño who also helped them and assured them of their safety, as well as Bulalacao, BCPO acting city director Senior Supt. Francisco Ebreo, the Diocese of Kabankalan, the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, Task Force Kasanag, and Negros Occidental Board Member Alain Gatuslao.
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said “I wish them well, they will just have to face their cases. It’s definitely very uncomfortable for them now, but they have also said they are innocent and now they will have a chance to prove their innocence.”
Lacson also said that it is unfortunate for them that the Court decided that there is ground for prima facie evidence, but it does not mean they are guilty, they will have their day in Court, and time will tell what the results will be.*SGG
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