The National Prosecution Service (NPS) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) scored a conviction for the killing of ROLANDO URETA, program manager and commentator of RMN-DYKR in Kalibo, Aklan.
In the 16 January 2014 Decision, and promulgated on 4 February 2014, of Branch 16 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu City, AMADOR RAZ was found guilty of the crime of homicide and was sentenced to serve the indeterminate penalty of eight (8) years and one (1) day of prision mayor as minimum, to fourteen (14) years, eight (8) months, and one (1) day of temporal as maximum.
From the evidence presented by the Prosecution, it was established that on January 3, 2001, the victim URETA was shot three (3) times near the cemetery contiguous to the highway of Brgy. Bago, Lezo, Aklan, by a certain Jessie Ticar who thereafter boarded the awaiting motorcycle driven by the convicted RAZ. Ticar was initially an accused in the said case but who died during the pendency of the trial. Under our criminal law regime, death extinguishes all criminal liability.
The Prosecution presented several witnesses, including Gerson Sonio who witnessed the killing. Sonio also testified that he recognized the riders in tandem whom he saw meeting with an Engr. Dominador Alindatu a few days before the shooting in the farm of the latter. Alindatu was then the Municipal Engineer of Numancia, Aklan who was the object of the victim's commentaries in the radio for the public officer's alleged irregularities. Witness Sonio only disclosed his knowledge of the killing after three (3) years from the incident for fear for his life and that of his family.
Other witnesses for the Prosecution included the wife of the victim and other radio personalities from other stations in Aklan who collaborated that victim URETA has been heavily criticizing Alindatu. One witness also confirmed that victim URETA confided that he has been receiving threats from the Alindatu amp.
The trial court, however, found that the presence of accused RAZ in the farm of Alindatu a few days before the shooting incident was too "circumstantial and not proof enough of a plot to kill the victim" and so, therefore, no premeditation existed. Thus, only the crime of homicide was handed down.
Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, in a briefing, expressed her satisfaction in the guilty verdict explaining that such case was being monitored closely by the Inter-Agency Council created by Administrative Order No. 35.
Administrative Order No. 35 was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last 22 November 2012 which created the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) and composed of the Department of Justice (DOJ), as Chairperson, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAP), Office of the Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs (OPA), Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The IAC is the high-level inter-agency mechanism of the Aquino Administration designed to ensure effective investigations and successful prosecutions of grave human rights violations.
"We are committed to scoring more convictions, particularly, on cases that involve egregious human rights violations," closed De Lima.
Handling the UIRETA case for the NPS were Senior Deputy State Prosecutor THEODORE M. VILLANUEVA, Assistant State Prosecutor HAZEL C. DECENA-VALDEZ and Assistant City Prosecutor GANDHI TRUYA.