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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, July 1, 2011
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Habeas corpus bid
for Bongco denied

BY ADRIAN NEMES III

Regional Trial Court Branch 47 Judge Manuel Cardinal dismissed Wednesday the petition for habeas corpus filed by the camp of drug suspect Angelo Bongco seeking his immediate release from detention.

In his decision, a copy of which was furnished the DAILY STAR yesterday, Cardinal stressed that, after a thorough evaluation the petition filed by Bongco’s lawyer, Rafael Atutubo, they found lack of legal basis to grant it.

Based on the petition, Bongco was arrested by the police on June 18, 2011 at about 7 p.m. for alleged sale of the illegal drug ecstasy at Palmas Del Mar Village and Beach Club, and despite the lapse of more than 36 hours, no criminal information had been filed before the court.

He added that in cases of warrantless arrest, the allowable hours that a person may be legally detained is a maximum of 36 hours for offenses punishable by afflictive or capital offense.

During a hearing on June 24, 2011, City Prosecutor Dennis Jarder manifested in open court that a complaint against Bongco had already been filed before the Bacolod City Prosecutor’s Office at about 11 a.m. on June 22, 2011 or, approximately, 40 hours had already lapsed since his arrest excluding Sunday and Monday, Atutubo said.

City Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group team leader, Senior Insp. Joemarie Occeño in his motion to dismiss the petition for habeas corpus emphasized that Bongco was apprehended in a buy-bust operation on June 18 and the following day Sunday, was a non-working day and Monday was an official holiday.

Occeño said these days are not included in the computation of the allowable period for detention under Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code, based the memorandum of Regional State Prosecutor Domingo Laurea dated December 2, 2009.

He added that the charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 and Republic Act 8294 against Bongco are punishable with an affective penalty, was filed before the city prosecutor’s Office on June 22 at exactly 11:35 a.m. which means that Bongco was detained for only 11 hours and 35 minutes and not 36 hours.

Cardinal said the fact that Bongco had availed of his right to preliminary investigation and signed a waiver of Article 125 of the RPC, duly assisted by his counsel, of record and voluntarily submitted himself to remain under detention pending the completion of a preliminary investigation will negate the claims of Atutubo that Bongco was restrained of his liberty against his will

As to the issue of counting the number of hours allowable period of detention , Cardinal said that the actual hours from the time of arrest should be counted 8 hours per day only.*APN

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