MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) has allowed the transfer to Makati City of the trial against former Quezon City congresswoman Nanette Castelo-Daza’s son-in-law, who is accused of killing the ex-lawmaker’s boyfriend in her house last year.
In a letter sent to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 218, SC First Division clerk of court Edgardo Aricheta said the high court on Jan. 14, has allowed the transfer of the homicide case against Bulacan provincial board member Allan Robes, the husband of city councilor and Daza’s daughter Jessica.
The transfer order was made following the request of the heirs of Noel Orate, Daza’s slain boyfriend, who was shot dead in her house in Teacher’s Village on Feb. 10, 2012.
In a letter dated June 11, 2012, lawyer Eduardo Bringas – representing Orate’s children – asked to the SC to allow the transfer of the case.
“My clients firmly believe that there will be a travesty of justice if the case of their father will remain in Quezon City,” said the lawyer, who noted that the Castelo political clan is very powerful in the city.
“My clients have vital witnesses but (they) are afraid to testify freely for fear of reprisal,” he added.
The request was opposed by Robes’ lawyer, Raul Ibay Tolentino, who said the transfer request shows the “writer’s disagreement with certain orders or resolutions of the presiding judge in the case.”
Tolentino also noted that Bringas did not state any justification why they wanted the case to be transferred to the Makati City Regional Trial Court (MCRTC).
Presiding Judge Zenon Maceren did not object to the request and submitted the matter to the discretion of the high court. The SC ordered the Quezon City court to forward all documents and records concerning the case to MCRTC, where it will be re-raffled.
Robes, who earlier claimed that he acted in self-defense, pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against him. He is out on bail after posting the P40,000 bond set by the prosecutor, who downgraded the charges from murder to homicide.
The Orates sought the reinvestigation of the incident and insisted the suspect be charged with murder.
In a resolution, however, the Department of Justice affirmed the filing of homicide charges against Robes.