Tomas secures Macaslang, arraignment postponed
The arraignment for the homicide charges against William Macaslang Jr. has been deferred for 60 business days pending the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution’s camp before the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.
Macaslang, the driver-bodyguard of Tejero Barangay Councilman Jessielou Cadungog who admitted shooting dead PO3 Eugene Calumba, was supposed to be arraigned before Cebu City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 17 Presiding Judge Anacleto Debalucos yesterday, August 31, for the homicide charges filed against him for the policeman’s death and the alleged attempt on the life of anti-crime volunteer Michael Banua.
Calumba allegedly attempted to kill Cadungog; but Macaslang, claiming self-defense, shot the cop.
Judge Debalucos decided to postpone the arraignment upon the request of lawyer Inocencia de la Cerna, one of the prosecution counsels who said that a motion for reconsideration is still pending in the City Prosecutor’s office.
De la Cerna said they have substantial evidence for the prosecutor to revert its first ruling to downgrade the cases from murder and attempted murder to homicide and attempted homicide.
De la Cerna also questioned the speed that the panel of prosecutors in the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office has rendered the resolution.
“We found out that it was inordinately rushed and we believe that the evidences substantial enough was not appreciated. So, we are asking the panel of prosecutors to revisit and look into the very vital witness. Because over and above the CCTV (closed circuit television), there is an eye-witness, a child at that, who was there,” de la Cerna said.
“Ma-question man gud na nimo, although we are not putting any malice on the part of the prosecutors. Being a practicing lawyer, we know that resolutions coming from the prosecutors take time. Normally 30 days, more than 60 days pa gani. We were surprised why there was an olympic record in resolving this case. What is important in this case? There are so many murders to be resolved,” he added.
But lawyer Benjamin Militar, Macaslang’s counsel, said that the move of the prosecution was only a means of delaying the delivery of justice.
Militar said the prosecution is barking at the wrong tree for lodging the motion for reconsideration at the prosecutor’s office.
“The case is already outside the jurisdiction of the prosecutor. So once it is filed in court, they can elevate that to the Department of Justice (DOJ), but not to the prosecutor’s office because they have already exhausted their jurisdiction,” Militar said.
Militar added that he is confident that the panel of prosecutors will only deny the motion.
But de la Cerna said they will be exhausting all means in the proceedings to revert the first decision of the panel of prosecutors.
“We will ask the DOJ if the panel of prosecutors will be holding on to that resolution. We will elevate the petition for review at the DOJ,” de la Cerna said.
Meanwhile, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who accompanied Macaslang in attending the arraignment, vowed to be Macaslang’s bodyguard.
“William is terrified for his life. After being released from the custody of the NBI, who for the past month thankfully refused to release him to the police, he has nowhere safe to go,” Osmeña said in a Facebook post.
“I told him I will go with him. Today, I am his bodyguard. William is a nobody. He has no one to stand for him. So I will,” he added.
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