Court acquits man accused of killing criminology student PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 March 2011 15:35

A 26-year-old man, who was accused of murder in connection with the killing of a criminology student at Jumbo Bridge in  Guiwan on January 20, 2006, was acquitted in a decision handed down by Judge Gregorio dela Peña III of the Regional Trial Court Branch 12 last February 22.

In a 28-page-decision, Judge dela Peña ordered the City Warden of the Zamboanga City Jail where Daivymin Napalcruz y Covarrubias has been detained for more than five years to immediately release him.

Napalcruz had earlier been cleared of the case of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition in a decision handed down by Judge Nancy Bantayanon-Cuaresma of the Municipal Trial Court Branch 1 on June 26, 2009

The criminal charges against Napalcruz were dismissed after the prosecution presented weak evidences which did not convince the court.

Atty. Emmanuel Opay, legal counsel of Napalcruz, said that the 28-page decision of Judge Dela Peña and the 16-page decision of Judge Nancy Bantayanon-Cuaresma, the murder and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition charges filed against his client were all dropped because the posecution failed to prove them beyond reasonable doubt.

Napalcruz was arrested on January 26, 2006 in Guiwan Porcentro particularly at Allen store and allegedly the police found in his possession a sub-nose .38 cal. revolver.

His arrest came after a complaint of gun toting filed at the Tetuan Police Station by Jerwin Fernandez.

When Napalcruz was taken to the Tetuan Police Station for investigation, witnesses appeared and pointed to him as one of the gunmen who allegedly shot and killed Philip Adrian Aguilar at Jumbo Bridge in the evening of January 20, 2006.

Opay said the prosecution presented evidences and five witnesses on the murder and four counts of attempted murder during trials, which did not convince the court.

Aguilar was with four companions aboard a tricycle on their way home to Mampang coming from a fiesta celebration in Cabaluay when he was shot by one of two gunmen aboard a motorcycle.

“In the criminal case number 22460 for murder of Aguilar, the court finds the evidence of the prosecution very much wanting. First and foremost, none one of the prosecutions’ witnesses has convinced the court that either one of them actually saw the person who shot the former at the very time they heard gunshots. All of them apparently claimed to have seen the face of the shooter only after the first set of gunshots were fired and after Aguilar already fell from the motorized tricycle. With no direct evidence therefore conclusively and clearly pointing the accused herein as the perpetrator of the shooting of the said victim, the acquittal of the accused herein for the said offense is imminent and inevitable,” said Judge Dela Peña in his decision.

The four counts of attempted murder were also filed against Napalcruz after Aguilar’s four companions alleged that he also shot them but missed while they were fleeing.

For criminal case numbers 22461, 22462, 22464 and 22465, all for attempted murder, the court found grave and material inconsistencies in the prosecution’s alleged witnesses oral testimonies which led it to seriously doubt the eyewitnesses claims that they were shot at and actually recognized the perpetrator or person who accordingly shot them that fateful night of January 20, 2006.

The case of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition was cleared for some technicality where the prosecution failed to comply.

In the evening of January 26, 2006, Fernandez appeared at the Guiwan Police Action center and sought assistance stating that one of three men aboard a motorcycle pointed a handgun at him while they were aboard their motorcycles respectively along Tetuan Highway.     

Fernandez along with two policemen caught Napalcruz at Allen Store in Guiwan Porcentro several minutes after.

During a frisk, police allegedly recovered a snub-nose .38 cal. revolver not in the possession of Napalcruz, but a distance away from him.

It was reported that Napalcruz threw the gun while the police and Fernandez were approaching.
However, during presentation of evidences, the prosecution failed to submit to the court the original copy of the so called “certificate of no firearm” issued by the 9th FESAGS that would have certified Napalcruz a non-legitimate gun holder. Neither the officer of the FESAGS failed to present in court by the prosecution.

With this failure of the prosecution, one element of the case is lack or absence of prior license or permit to possess gun, was not proved by the prosecutor.