Still no alias warrant for alleged masterminds in Esperat slay
CMFR/PHILIPPINES – The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati has deferred resolution of the prosecution’s second motion for the issuance of alias warrants of arrest against the alleged masterminds in the 24 March 2005 killing of journalist Marlene Esperat.
The arrest and trial of alleged masterminds Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sabay have been on hold since November 2009 due to a writ of preliminary injunction issued by CA Mindanao Station in response to the accused masterminds’ petition for certiorari.
In an 18 May 2012 order, presiding acting judge Joselito Villarosa of RTC Branch 138 reiterated his earlier decision that the court will address motions for the issuance of alias summons only when “the accused’s petition (for certiorari) has been finally resolved with finality.” An alias warrant is issued by a court when the original warrant is returned in ten days without being served.
The RTC Branch 138 judge had earlier denied the first motion filed on 22 September 2011, explaining that the Court would wait for the resolution of the alleged masterminds’ motion asking the Court of Appeals Mindanao station to reconsider the 19 August 2011 dismissal of their petition for certiorari. The accused masterminds’ MR had been denied on 19 January 2012.
According to the accused masterminds’ Opposition, the Supreme Court has yet to resolve their 2 April 2012 motion for reconsideration of the March 2012 denial of their petition for review on certiorari. They allege that the Supreme Court denied their petition for review on certiorari on a ground they did not include in their petition for review.
The Supreme Court in a resolution dated 5 March 2012 denied this petition, saying that the alleged masterminds had failed to “show that the Court of Appeals committed a reversible error in upholding the Regional Trial Court’s denial of the motion to quash the Information for murder against petitioners…and the lifting of the corresponding warrants of arrest against them in Criminal Case No. 3064.”
Esperat was killed on 24 March 2005 in front of her children in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat. According to the testimonies of witnesses, Montañer and Sabay, both of whom work at the Region XII Department of Agriculture office, ordered her killing after she exposed their supposed participation in the alleged P728 million fertilizer scam in which US aid funds for fertilizer were instead used to help finance the election of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2004.