Court regrets Arroyo plea to dismiss damage suit

November 25, 2012 - 9:26:52 am

MANILA: A Quezon City court has denied the petition of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to dismiss the P15-million civil suit filed against her and other military officials by some members of the so-called “Morong 43.”

In a decision promulgated yesterday, Judge Afable Cajigal of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 96 denied Arroyo’s motion for reconsideration asking the court to overturn the decision of Branch 226 Pairing Judge Cleto Villacorta to junk the motion to dismiss the case filed against the Pampanga representative.

“Gleaned from the said Motion for Reconsideration were reiterations and mere rehash of the grounds relied upon in the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, and the same has been exhaustively passed upon by the previous Court. Finding no cogent reason to depart from the previous ruling of Branch 226, the instant motion is hereby denied,” the decision reads.

The civil suit stemmed from the case filed by six members of the Morong 43 for their supposed illegal arrest and torture under the hands of the military in 2010.

The case was filed by Alex Montes, Merry Mia Clamor, Gary Liberal, Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Reynaldo Macabenta, and Mercy Castro.

Aside from Arroyo, also named respondents were former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Victor Ibrado, former Army chief Delfin Bangit, former national security adviser Norberto Gonzales, former 2nd Infantry Division chief Maj Gen Jorge Segovia, Col Victorino Zaragoza, Maj.Manuel Tabion, Col Aurelio Baladad, Lt Col Jaime Abawag, and Superintendents Marion Balolong and Allan Nubleza.

Montes said that while the former president was not directly involved in their torture, Arroyo should be held accountable since she has knowledge of the incident as she was the commander-in-chief of the AFP.

“We are happy that the case is finally moving,” Montes said.

Around 20 members of the Justice for the Morong 43 Movement went to the Quezon City Hall of Justice yesterday to urge the court to convict Arroyo.

In another case, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes said that the prescription period for filing election offense and other criminal charges against the so-called “Garci Boys” who rigged the 2004 elections should have already expired, except for Arroyo, who stepped down from office in 2010.

“The Garci Boys were in 2004 so it should have prescribed already. The prescription for election offense is five years,” he said.

The so-called Garci Boys refer to some Comelec officials associated with former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and mentioned in his alleged wiretapped conversation with Arroyo.

The Philippine Star