Regional Trial Court Branch 41 Executive Judge, Ray Allan Drilon yesterday inhibited himself from the trial of the parricide case filed against a call center agent and his common-law-wife for the death of their 6-year-old daughter in Bacolod City on Oct. 27, 2010.
Couple Bernard Nolan, 27, and Rachel Esguera, 26, of BS Aquino Drive, Bacolod City, appeared again before Drilon yesterday morning, supposedly for a pretrial hearing with their faces covered.
The judge, however, announced that he is inhibiting himself and the case will be raffled on Friday.
City Prosecutor Armando Abanado said the case may go to the court of either Judge Philadelfa Pogapong Agraviador of RTC Branch 43, or to Judge Anita Chua of RTC Branch 51.
Abanado said Nolan’s family got the services of Manila-based lawyer Raulito Paras to defend him and had filed a motion asking Drilon to inhibit himself from the trial.
During the pretrial last month, Nolan was assisted byCristine Umahab of the Public Attorney’s Office after his original lawyer, Joel Cabalatungan, withdrew his services.
Paras, as requested by Nolan’s father Ricardo, filed a motion asking Drilon to inhibit himself from the trial because he had allegedly shown impartiality, prejudice, and biases throughout the pretrial of the case, Abanado said.
Contacted by the DAILY STAR, Drilon declined to comment on the allegation of Nolan’s family and said that he had decided to grant their motion to end further discussions on the allegations hurled against him by the family of Nolan.
When they attended the pre-trial last month, the family of Nolan said they are not in favor of having him enter a guilty plea and take all the responsibility for the crime, and preferred that a full-blown trial should proceed so the real culprit will be known.
This was after Cristine Nessia-Bugador, lawyer of Esguera, said that Nolan was considering entering into a plea bargain, and that he was willing to plead guilty to a lesser offense, also claiming that his common-law wife is innocent, and wants her to be exempted from everything.
The couple were arrested after their daughter, who appeared to have been badly beaten up, died minutes after they brought her to the Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital in Bacolod.*APN