July 18 - July 31, 2005

Steve T. Barreiro

A tale of two doctors

As part of the DOJ preliminary investigation into the Jimmy Chua slay case, the DOJ panel (from Manila) led by State Prosecutor Esperanza Rosario conducted an ocular inspection of the crime scene at the Eagles Nest Bar and Restaurant on Wednesday morning, July 27.

Most of the major players involved in the controversial issue with the exception of LC Councilor Melvin Dela Cuesta were present at the inspection, including respondents LC mayor Michael V. Farinas and former LC PNP chief Joel Pagdilao,.

Much of the inquiries hinged around NBI chemist Liberato who conducted the forensic investigations on February 10, 11, and 16. Of particular interest were the results as well as the conduct of the investigations. This column had predicted that the next logical step would be to attack the evidence gathered by the NBI and as expected, the defense grilled Ms. Liberato who stated that there were sites tested which turned up negative and that there were also other areas which tested positive for traces of “Type O blood” (Vice-mayor Jimmy Chua’s blood type). . Accordingly, Liberato stated that there were no traces of blood found at the area outside the entrance to the restaurant which is purported to be the crime scene by the LC PNP. Thereafter she extended her search, finding traces of Type O blood from several areas inside the restaurant. The findings would appear to corroborate some of the previous statements of Melvin Dela Cuesta (including the 4th affidavit which he subsequently recanted for reasons he only knows) that the Vice-mayor was killed inside the restaurant, though soil samples taken of the area underneath the lower deck where most of the blood evidences were supposedly recovered, tested negative. The defense has countered by stating that the crime scene being a public area had obviously been “contaminated” considering that the killing occurred on February 2 and that the evidences were collected more than a week later.

Further, Atty. Sandra Coronel, counsel for the Chua family submitted the testimonies of Dr. Deborah Dela Cruz and Dr. Ricarte Caday who had both attended to the vice-mayor when he was brought to the Provincial hospital emergency room at about 3 AM of February 2 According to their sworn statements reaffirmed before the DOJ panel, the late vice-mayor had already been dead for approximately an hour or more considering the condition of the body upon admission. Accordingly, this is contrary to the statements of PO2 Pasamonte that the vice-mayor was still breathing when they were en route to the hospital. The affidavit of Dr. Caday states that Dr. Dela Cruz who first attended to the vice-mayor, queried the policeman who had brought in the vice-mayor as to what had happened; to which the policeman later identified as PO2 Pasamonte accordingly said that they had taken him (the patient) from ”inside” the Eagles Nest restaurant after they responded to a call saying that there was a man bleeding from the head. It would appear that the testimony of the doctors has become significant with regards to charges of an alleged cover-up. Incidentally PO2 Pasamonte has already been included in the list of respondents at both the complaints filed with the DOJ and the NAPOLCOM by the Chua family.

This column is reminded of the example posed by the testimony of bank official Clarissa Ocampo; it was not the statements of Gov. Singson but the statement of a competent professional unencumbered by any interests either for President Estrada or then VP Arroyo that gave credence to the arguments against the former president. In this case, will the testimony of the two competent, professional medical practitioners prove to be the “Ocampo” factor?

In my previous columns I had mentioned the testimony of the two doctors. However, these statements were only submitted at the hearing in conjunction with the ocular inspection of the DOJ. Accordingly, sources reveal that this was a “surprise” to the defense which presumably, had been unaware of this development, particularly as sources have also disclosed that the testimonies of the two doctors had been taken as part of the investigation by the INPPO under the competent and thoroughly professional command of S/Supt. Juan G. Luna.

The moral of the story? Make it a habit to read The Ilocos Times.

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