LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Benguet Provincial Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the forcible abduction and gang rape charges filed by a 26-year old single mother against SPO3 Eugene Gati Araos and SPO3 Alvaro Bedking Perez, of the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Station No. 3 for lack of probable cause.
In an 8-page resolution penned by Deputy Provincial Prosecutor Andres M. Gondayao and approved by Provincial Prosecutor William Bacoling, it ordered the chief of police of the Itogon Municipal Police Station or his duly authorized representative to release SPO3 Araos and SPO3 Perez from detention unless they are being held for other lawful cause.
However, the prosecutor recommended for indictment Kenmark Pinas, Jude Saydawan and 5 John Does for ten counts of rape.
The resolution cited the complainant positively identified the room at Tuding, Itogon, Benguet where she was detained and she visited the place with police investigators after captivity and identified the personal belongings still inside the room before renovation.
On the other hand, SPO3 Perez was not positively pinpointed and identified and the complainant pinpointed him after she had been continually texting inside the tinted van and SPO1 Paulino Lubos, Jr. was likewise busy texting. SPO3 Perez was only pinpointed by the complainant after SPO1 Lubos went in front of him.
On the claim of the victim that she went inside the gray van upon the invitation of a certain Arnel Palangdan, Gondayao found no reason why Arnel Palangdan was not included in the complaint, nonetheless, this office finds no direct evidence to establish conspiracy as against Palangdan much so that she admitted before Rey Soda that Palangdan was not among those who raped her.
The resolution stated Jude Saydawan was positively identified as the same person who forced the complainant to smell a tissue causing her to be weak and dizzy. He was also allegedly among three individuals who took turns in raping her on May 23. On May 24, Saydawan reportedly threatened and raped her again, and on May 28, in the early morning, he again raped the victim.
“This office is inclined to give due course to the identity of Jude Saydawan. Frm the abduction at Mines view, Jude was identified up to the time that the private complainant was released at Mines view,” the resolution stated.
Further, Jude Saydawan was reportedly with the group of respondents. As such, the claim of Saydawan that he did not commit the acts complained of as he was attending to personal matters are all alibi. And that the same is a weak defense and cannot overcome positive allegation.
Assuming that Saydawan was busy attending personal matters, the resolution cited the same will not necessarily follow that there is inherent impossibility to commit the acts complained of since the place where the grocery store of the respondent’s wife and the place where he plays mahjong is the same place where the complainant was abducted. The same is true with the place where the respondent do motor repair works. It is the same place where the complainant was held in captivity for five days.
The resolution added Kenmark Pinas was likewise identified by the victim as among those three individuals who took turns in raping her on May 23.
While it may be true that Pinas has been doing carpentry works at his residence at Slide, Tuding, Itogon, Benguet, the same is the compound where the complainant was held in captivity for five days, hence, his identification prevails over denial dong carpentry works will not hinder or negate the acts complained of.
Araos was described by the victim through his body built and facial appearances, however, she cannot pinpoint to him.
During the clarificatory investigation, the resolution cited the victim pointed to another person and not Araos which in the process was unrecorded because of a lady guest who disturbed the proceedings by clapping her hands and made some noise immediately thereafter when the complainant pinpointed to another person prompting the prosecutor assigned to the case to declare a recess and excluded the lady guest.
In the continuation of the clarificatory hearing, the victim corrected her testimony that she cannot recognize Araos, that she has not actually seen his face because he was wearing a hat and sometimes a helmet.
“The undersigned finds no reason why she cannot recognize Eugene Araos whom she specifically mentioned in her sworn statement that Eugene Araos raped her four times. It is inherently impossible that in all the four time3s of the sexual assault, Eugene Araos was with a hat or a helmet. How was Eugene Araos identified by the complainant which led to his arrest if from the very start she cannot and have not actually seen the face of the respondent in that four counts of rape? There must be a reason behind known to the complainant and the police investigator,” the resolution stressed.
Gundayao asserted this circumstance negates the identity and alleged direct participation of Araos in the acts complained of and that he was inclined to give due course to the counter-affidavit of the respondent.
The resolution cited it may be true that the victim was raped four times but the author of the crime remains unidentified individuals.
Perez was subjected to a police lineup and thereafter arrested. The basis of the police lineup was that he was associated with Jude Saydawan.
Gondayao stipulated it is but proper that he is associated with Saydawan, the latter being the younger brother of the father-in-law of Perez as admitted by the latter and without the said information, there can be no police lineup.
In the process of the lineup at the BCPO Station No. 3, policemen were seated on a bench while the victim was inside a tinted van with police officers. It was noted that the victim did not pinpoint to Perez who was seated among his co-policemen. She was busy texting despite the advise of PO1 Sandra Tongacan to refraim from texting. The same is true with SPO1 Lubos.
When Perez stood up together with the other police personnel, Lubos stood in front of Perez. Suddenly, the victim stopped texting and uttered the words “kasla isuna diyay, diyay nakatugaw ditoy igid, basta ditoy igid, amo ni uncle Junior pay,” “kaliklikudan na, tas diyay jacket oray nasipnget diyay juwarto, malagip ko nga isuna dayta.”
The resolution ruled the aforesaid procedure adopted in the course of identification was not proper. While it is true that in a police lineup, right to counsel is not necessary considering that the police lineup is not a confession or statement but a procedural act.
He added the procedure adopted in the case is tainted with suspicion and it should have been a crucial stage that right to counsel must be observed in order to guard and protect the interest of the suspect and that the police procedure shall be strictly be enforced.
“The undersigned submits that the identification of Perez was suggestive and irregular. Besides as appearing in the affidavit of PO2 Heidi Juliano who quoted the statement of the victim during the police lineup, the latter was not certain to the identity and participation of Perez. The use of the word kasla isuna diyay, amo ni Uncle Junior dayta is convincing to establish uncertainty of the suspect’s identity,” the resolution stated.
It added besides, the description of Perez by the complainant does not jibe with the former’s physical appearance.
Lastly, before the arrest of Perez, Chief Inspector Marlo Evasco received a text message that the police investigator will be coming to arrest Perez. As such, the police lineup is only a formality since there is already a preconceived plan to arrest Perez by investigators.
Gondayao submitted that Perez was not positively identified as among the respondents in the police lineup.
It stated the narration of the incidents by the victim from her abduction in Mines view, her captivity at Tuding, Itogon for five days up to her release on May 28 clearly shows that all the respondents acted in conspiracy. She was forced to smell a tissue by means of force whereby all the respondents inside the van acted cooperatively, one passing the tissue to be issued against the victim and the other holding her.
The respective acts of the respondents are all connected and cooperative indicating closeness of personal association, concerted action and concurrent of sentiments.
Gondayao concluded all the respondents identified shall be held responsible for ten counts of rape with the aggravating circumstance of the use of motor vehicles. Forcible abduction is absolved in the crime of rape since the main objective of respondents was to rape the victim.
By Herald Express News Team