Supt. Nobleza, hubby arraigned in Bohol, enters not guilty plea
TUBIGON, BOHOL CITY, Bohol — A cold stare.
This was the response of detained Supt. Maria Cristina Brugada Nobleza to the threat made by President Duterte that he would hang every traitor in the government.
“Not guilty,” she later told the Inquirer on Tuesday.
Nobleza and her husband Reneer Lou Dongon were brought from Camp Crame to Tubigon town, about 54 km from the capital city of Tagbilaran, to attend the arraignment of charges filed against them at the 2nd Municipal Circuit Court.
Both pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree 1829 before Judge Erwin Magallano Ucat on Monday morning.
They also asked the court to allow them to post bail, said Insp. Fernando Peroramas, chief of Clarin police station, as the media were not allowed to get inside the courtroom.
Peroramas said that since Nobleza and Dungon had no legal counsel, Lloyd Steven Lim from the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) acted as their lawyer.
Nobleza and Dungon, who are both detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City, arrived at the Tagbilaran Airport past 9 a.m. on Tuesday.
They were transported in two separate police cars and were heavily guarded.
After the arraignment, reporters interviewed Nobleza who was wearing a hijab, a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women.
“Nag-fasting ako ayaw ko magsalita (I’m fasting. I don’t want to talk),” said Nobleza, who converted to Islam when she married Dungon.
Dungon, who was also wearing a hood, refused to talk.
Nobleza said she was not allowed to speak since she was fasting during the Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam.
Inquirer asked Nobleza to react on the speech made by President Rodrigo Duterte during the 119th anniversary of the Philippine Navy in Davao City last May 31.
The President accused Nobleza of being an “active player” of the Abu Sayyaf who received money from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Duterte also said he would want to hang Nobleza for everyone to see.
“I will not hesitate to do if it comes to that. I will hang every traitor in the government,” Duterte said.
Nobleza didn’t respond immediately but gave a cold stare before she finally said: “Not guilty,” was her brief answer.
Nobleza and Dungon left the court at 10:49 a.m. and were brought to Camp Francisco Dagohoy Headquarters in Tagbilaran City before taking a commercial flight back to Manila at 3:30 p.m.
Dungon and Nobleza were arrested after they refused to stop at a security checkpoint in Barangay Bacani, Clarin on April 22, at the time when government troopers were hunting down Abu Sayyaf members who had entered Bohol.
Three Abu Sayyaf bandits were later killed in the operation.
The police recovered medical kits, flippers and snorkeling gears, clothes, first-aid kits, food and a government-issued firearm from the suspects’ vehicle.
Police later recovered the cellular phone of Nobleza that contained text messages purportedly from one of the Abu Sayyaf members, begging to be rescued.
Two days after their arrest, police allegedly found bomb parts inside their rented apartment in Panglao town.
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