Court hears motion to withdraw raps vs 'Morong 43'

By Jay Ruiz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 15 2010 03:29 PM | Updated as of Dec 15 2010 11:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Lawyers of the Morong 43 and government prosecutors attended Wednesday a clarificatory hearing on the motion of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to withdraw the information or criminal charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives against the Morong 43.

The clarificatory hearing was ordered by Judge Gina Escoto of branch 78 of the Morong Regional Trial Court last Monday after government prosecutors failed to submit to the court the review resolution issued by Justice Secretary Leila de  Lima.

Government prosecutors submitted to the court the review resolution setting aside and reversing the information filed by the DOJ last February.  

Lawyers of the Morong 43 also asked the court to dismiss the opposition filed by the party-list group ANAD, led by Jun Alcover, opposing the motion to withdraw charges against the Morong 43.

Atty. Rachel Pastores , lawyer of the Morong 43, argued that the ANAD opposition has no legal basis because they are not part of the case.

After submitting their respective motions, both prosecutors and lawyers of the Morong 43 said that they are confident that the judge will soon grant the motion to withdraw and order the release of the Morong 43 as soon as possible.

Family members of the accused who attended the hearing are hoping their loved ones would be released before the end of the week.

Some were dismayed by the slow process of their release despite the DOJ order to withdraw the information against the 43.  Court employees said that the judge might rule on the motion within the week.