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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 10, 2013
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Gun raps filed vs.
freed Arles slay suspect

BY CARLA GOMEZ

A suspect in the murder of Kabankalan Judge Henry Arles, who was recently released from the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation, has been charged in court for illegal possession of a firearm.

Eddie Fortunado, from Barangay Tampalon, Kabankalan City in Negros Occidental, and a member of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade, has been charged with illegal possession of a firearm before Branch 49 of the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod, Alan Gozon, chairman of the Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, said yesterday.

Gozon, claiming there is no basis for the charges against Fortunado, said they are waiting for the warrant of arrest against him so they can post bail.

The firearm was not recovered from Fortunado but was allegedly taken by the NBI from his house after he was already in the Bureau’s custody, Gozon said.

Fortunado, who was released from the NBI custody in Manila on orders of Bacolod RTC Branch 42 Judge Fernando Elumba, arrived in Bacolod yesterday.

He was released after his mother had filed a petition for the issuance of a Writ of Amparo, saying he was being wrongfully held in NBI custody.

In his order dated December 26, Elumba said the case at bar does not fall within the sphere of the privilege of the Writ of Amparo, but there is no legal basis for the continued confinement of Fortunado.

At the time of Elumba’s order, no illegal possession of firearm case had been filed against him.

A complaint had also been filed against Fortunado for alleged involvement in the murder of the judge before the Department of Justice but no case has been filed in court yet.

Fortunado yesterday said he was happy to be free from NBI custody where he had been held for six months.

He maintained that the charges against him were trumped-up and that he is mulling the filing of counter charges.

He also said he is ready to face the illegal possession of firearm case recently filed against him.*CPG

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