CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents secretly brought suspected investment scam leader Jachob “Coco” Rasuman from Manila to two local courts here yesterday, but the judges deferred the arraignment of the accused.
The courts handling the syndicated estafa charges filed against Rasuman postponed his arraignment due to the earlier motion to quash filed by defense lawyers.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Edna Valenzuela said both judges of the Cagayan de Oro Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branches 20 and 23, where Rasuman’s cases were heard, ruled for the postponement of his arraignment.
The special panel of prosecutors filed the case in court after finding probable cause in the initial complaint of 25 victims who lost some P120 million in investments scheme employed by Rasuman’s Nad 21 Auto Option Corp.
Also charged were Rasuman’s father, former Department of Public Works and Highways undersecretary Bashir Rasuman, and their relatives identified as Emma Rasuman, Jeremiah Amer Rasuman, Jamirie Amer Rasuman, Jerome Amer Rasuman, Bashir Rasuman Jr., Jamila Rasuman Tomawis, Jalaima Rasuman Mangarun, Amer Tomawis, and Princess Aliah Tomawis Rasuman.
Four armed NBI agents escorted Rasuman, who wore sunglasses and a surgical mask, when they arrived on board an AirPhil Express flight at around 6 a.m.
Some 50 policemen joined the NBI agents to secure the Lumbia Airport’s VIP lounge where Rasuman stayed from more than two hours while waiting for his 8 a.m. court appearance.
On the way to the Cagayan de Oro Hall of Justice, policemen were posted every 30 meters along the national highway from the airport.
The RTC judges who ruled for the deferment of Rasuman’s arraignment were Judge Bonifacio Macabaya of Branch 20 and Judge Henry Damasing of Branch 23.
Valenzuela, head of the panel of prosecutors handling Rasuman’s case, said the prosecutors were ready to present arguments against the motion to quash filed by Rasuman’s lawyer Anthony Marvin Ponce de Leon.
The prosecutors would also file their written opposition to the motion.
“Despite the effort of the prosecution, our request was denied,” Valenzuela said.
She said the arraignment was reset on Feb. 8.– With Edu Punay