Judge lifts warrant of arrest on Cuesta murder suspect

Mar. 05, 2009

Judge lifts warrant of arrest on Cuesta murder suspect

On February 13, we learned that the warrant of arrest issued against the main suspect in the killing of broadcaster Dennis Cuesta, police Inspector Redempto Acharon, had been lifted by the very judge who issued it. .

According Judge Isaac Alvero V. Moran of General Santos City Regional Trial Court (RTC) 36, his February 3 decision to issue the warrant against Acharon had been “virtually stripped” of its legal basis since the case was ordered reraffled and “considered as a newly filed case” by General Santos RTC Executive Judge Oscar P. Noel on February 11.

What we find disturbing is that, while Judge Noel said in his February 11 decision that he “finds no cogent reason to disturb the raffling of the case to Branch 36,” he nevertheless ordered the case reraffled and considered the case newly filed.

This, according to his decision, is “in order to give peace of mind to the concerned party.”

But if there is anyone that the court should give any “peace of mind,” would it not be the aggrieved members of the Cuesta family and his colleagues who have been hoping that the filing of the case and the issuance of the warrant against Acharon and his co-accused signaled that, at last, the wheels of justice were grinding?

It is noteworthy that, even before this setback, some colleagues who have been keeping tabs on the cases of murdered journalists had predicted that this development would happen. That their prediction has been accurate makes us fear the Cuesta murder may end up like the majority of the other cases of our slain colleagues, with justice denied and the gunmen and masterminds free to wreak more mayhem. Not to mention embolden others who seek to impose the ultimate censorship on journalists.

We also fear that powerful forces, perhaps the same forces responsible for Cuesta’s death, are working to thwart justice in this case.

We challenge government to take all the necessary actions to ensure that the Cuesta murder not end in another travesty of justice.

We call on our colleagues and the public to join efforts in seeing that this and all the other cases of murdered journalists see closure with the arrest, prosecution and punishment of the killers and masterminds, that true “peace of mind” may reign over this benighted land.

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines -Davao

comments powered by Disqus