MANILA - The Sandiganbayan 7th Division has granted the motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence of police and military officials involved in the cases of community health workers known as the Morong 43.
In the resolution of the anti-graft court dated March 5, retired Lt. Gen. Jorge Segovia, retired Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, Brig. Gen. Joselito Reyes, Col. Cristobal Zaragoza, Maj. Jovily Cabading, police Supt. Marion Balonglong and Supt. Allan Nobleza were given 10 days to file their demurrer to evidence for the dismissal of their cases.
The individuals are facing 8 counts of violation of Republic Act Number 7438 or An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers for the supposed illegal arrest and torture of the Morong 43 in 2010.
"After carefully reviewing accused’s motion for leave and the prosecution’s evidence, and further finding the issues and arguments relied by the accused to substantial and not merely to delay the proceedings, the court resolves to grant the same,” the court said in the ruling penned by Associate Justice Zaldy Trespeses, with the concurrence of Division Chairperson Ma. Theresa Doloroes Gomez-Estoesta and Associate Justice Georgina Hidalgo.
In their motion for leave, the accused said government prosecutors failed to establish their guilt beyond reasonable doubt and they should be acquitted.
With the motion for leave granted, the accused can still present their evidence if and when their demurrer to evidence was denied by the court.