MANILA, Aug. 11— Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog-Echavez and her brother, Reynaldo Jr., filed an urgent motion before Ozamiz City Regional Trial Court Branch 15 to allow them to attend the wake of their parents and other family members killed during the anti-drug operation of the Philippine National Police last July 30.
In separate Extremely Urgent Motion for Furlough, the siblings asked the court that they be allowed specifically to attend the wake and burial of their parents, Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Sr. and mother Susan, uncle Octavio Jr. and aunt Mona on August 13, 2017.
“In the spirit of compassion and humanity, the accused humbly begs for furlough from this Honorable Court to allow him to join his remaining family members in Ozamiz City to grieve, pay their last respects, and bid goodbye to the accused’s departed parents and loved ones,” the motion read.
The siblings insisted that they still enjoy the presumption of innocence even if a non-bailable offense has been filed against them.
Both accused said they will take all the necessary expenses, including airfare and accommodations, that will be incurred by their police escorts and jail guards while attending the wake and burial.
They both vowed to return to the PNP Custodial Center after the burial.
Echavez was charged for violation of for Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 specifically Section 11 for possession of dangerous drugs and violation of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition under Section 28 of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
Her brother is also facing three counts of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. He is also facing a separate case for illegal possession of explosives under RA 9516 and possession of dangerous drugs under RA 9165.
Judge Edmundo Pintac of the Ozamiz Regional Trial Court Branch 15 and Judge Salome Dungog of the Ozamiz RTC Branch 35 received the cases of the vice mayor and her brother respectively on Wednesday.
Pintac was given the cases for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of dangerous drugs against Nova.
Dungog was assigned Reynaldo Jr’s cases for possession of dangerous drugs, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and illegal possession of explosives.
Last Wednesday, the Department of Justice asked the Supreme Court to transfer the case of the siblings once the judge of Ozamiz City RTC inhibit from the cases.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, head of the DOJ panel handling the cases, said Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II could seek the transfer of cases before the Supreme Court as he did in the cases against arrested Maute terrorists and supporters.
“It will be up to the (DOJ) management to seek the transfer of cases if there are no takers among the Ozamiz RTC judges,” he said.
The comment was made after Pintac and Dungog both expressed plans to inhibit from the cases against the siblings.
“It should be heard and tried in a neutral place; not here in Ozamiz,” Pintac said in a television interview.
Dungog chose to inhibit from the case because he is set to retire on Aug. 22.