MANILA, Philippines – A local court on Monday entered a not guilty plea for Althea Altamirano and Fernando Quiambao Jr., the couple accused of killing part-time model and ABS-CBN talent Julie Anne Rodelas.
During the arraignment hearing, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 223 Judge Caridad Lutero entered a not guilty plea for the couple after the latter refused to enter a plea on the murder charge against them.
Altamirano and Quiambao argued that the court must resolve first their omnibus motion to quash the murder case due to their supposed illegal arrest.
Lutero, however, said the prosecutors already found probable cause to file charges against the couple and other suspects.
Another suspect, Jaymar Waradje, entered a not guilty plea for the same charge.
Meanwhile, the court deferred the arraignment of fourth suspect, Gelan Pasewalan, who was charged with illegal possession of firearms.
The court agreed with the camp of Pasawelan that the police did not list the pieces of evidence against the latter.
Pasawelan's lawyer also asked for a re-investigation on the complaint against his client.
The court has set February 12, 2013 as the the beginning of the trial proper on the case.
It also ordered the transfer of Altamirano and Quiambao to the Quezon City Jail from their detention cell in Camp Karingal.
Waradje and Pasawelan, meanwhile, will remain in Camp Karingal where the Quezon City Police – Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit holds office.
Rodelas was laid to rest last Saturday, even as two more suspects in her murder identified as Efren Talib and alias "Aldos" remain at large.
According to Waradje, Aldos and Talib took turns in raping Rodelas inside a hideout in Culiat, Quezon City. - report from Dennis Datu, dzMM