Oberes’ family hesitant to accept Garciano offer as state witness

By Ador Vincent S. Mayol February 08,2018

GARCIANO

Wala ni pinugsanay.”

Lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo said they are not forcing the family of slain Philippine Air Force Staff Sergeant Mark Herbert Oberes to agree to their offer that his client Joshua Garciano would turn state witness and testify against the other suspects in the crime.

Oberes’ family had expressed their hesitation in allowing Garciano to turn state witness.

Villagonzalo said he’s already preparing his client’s counter-affidavit should Oberes’ family turn down their request.

“If we can’t hear from them (Oberes family) by Friday or Monday, then we will file our counter-affidavit on Tuesday. I just hope that they realize the importance of my client’s testimony,” he said in a phone interview yesterday.

Villagonzalo on Wednesday filed a motion at the Talisay City Prosecutor’s Office to admit Garciano as state witness.

Although only the trial court can approve any request to be admitted as a state witness, the law allows the parties to enter into a prior agreement while the case is still with the prosecutor’s office, he said.

Oberes’ family, in a statement to the media, said their lawyer is studying the matter although they personally are loath to accept Garciano as state witness.

They said that the evidence they gathered tended to show that Garciano, an engineering graduate, played a vital role in the crime as the suspect allegedly sent death threats to the victim through text messages.

Garciano earlier claimed that he was present when Oberes was mercilessly beaten and set ablaze inside his own car in Barangay Valencia, Carcar City last January 31.

But the 22-year-old suspect made it clear that his only participation was to drive the vehicle that transported the victim to the crime scene.

Villagonzalo said they are offering the victim’s family a “gift” if they want to secure justice for Oberes.

“Actually, he (Garciano) is the missing link. There’s no other eyewitness to the crime. Without my client’s testimonies, their (Oberes family) case is weak,” he explained.

“But if they refuse our offer, then we’ll have to do things on our own. We’re actually not begging. Og dili sila, pasensyahay na lang mi pulos. Pasensya mi nga wala madawat si Joshua as state witness. Pasensya na lang pud sila og ma-dismiss ang ilang kaso. (If they refuse, then we just have to be sorry for each other; for us that Joshua is not accepted as state witness and for them if their case gets dismissed.),” he added.

The Talisay City police earlier filed a murder complaint against Garciano and his 20-year-old girlfriend Resamie Cabañog who were arrested, with the help of informants, an hour after the body of Oberes was found inside a burning vehicle in Carcar City last Jan. 31.

When presented before the prosecutor, the two suspects opted to undergo preliminary investigation and submit counter-affidavits to refute the charges.

While the investigation continues, Garciano and Cabañog remain at the Talisay City Police Office stockade.

Aside from the two suspects, the police also filed a murder complaint against Cabañog’s mother Edna, Tomas Isugan, and two other unidentified men — all of whom remain at large.

Initial police investigation disclosed that Oberes had an illicit relationship with Cabañog for some time. When Cabañog decided to break up with Oberes, the victim allegedly threatened to post their sex acts on social media.

When she learned about it, Edna allegedly hatched a plan to kill Oberes.

Authorities continue to track down the whereabouts of Edna and the other suspects who were reportedly spotted in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

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