Neophyte solon to all stakeholders: Support measures that will strengthen anti-crime campaign

February 14, 2014 7:39 am 

MANILA, Feb. 13 — A former senior officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-turned politician on Thursday appealed to all stakeholders to support measures that will strengthen all anti-crime bills.

ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Samuel Pagdilao is referring to the strengthening of the Witness Protection Program and classifying carnapping or stealing of motor vehicles as heinous crime.

Pagdilao said in the weekly forum Usaping Balita at Serye Restaurant in Quezon City that citizens should strongly lobby for the enactment of anti-crime measures as there appeared to be a resurgence of criminal activities in the past several months.

The former chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the PNP said there is urgency in amending the WPP for the law to bring about trust and confidence in the program.

“Apathy and fear are factors that weaken the WPP,” he told House reporters during the forum.

The neophyte lawmaker sought the immediate amendments of the WPP and the anti-carnapping law as he commiserated to the family of slain car trader Venson Evangelista.

Arsenio Evangelista, Venson’s father, lamented that Quezon City Regional Trial Court Judge Wilfredo Maynigo of Branch 215 ordered the testimony of Alfred Mendiola stricken off the record because he had been murdered.

Mendiola was the state witness in the carnapping with homicide case filed against a group of suspected carnappers of which he used to be a member.

Enrolled in the WPP, Mendiola provided to police investigators the most damaging testimony that led to the arrest of accused Roger and Raymond Dominguez, Jayson Miranda, Rolando Talban and several others. He went missing in May 2012 and was murdered. His case has remained unsolved.

“Since he was not presented because of his death, the accused were completely deprived of their right to cross-examination during the trial proper, and, therefore, to this essential part of due process guaranteed for all accused in any criminal proceeding,” Judge Maynigo explained in rejecting the late witness’ testimony.

Late last month, state prosecutors filed a motion for reconsideration to the court’s order to expurgate the entire testimony of Mendiola.

The elder Evangelista said prosecutors have stressed that Mendiola’s testimony should be considered because he testified truthfully and never reneged his commitment to help prosecute the accused by telling the court what he knew about the death of Venson.

The motion for reconsideration also stressed that cross examination of Mendiola transpired in connection with his testimony against the Dominguez brothers and Miranda.

Evangelista appealed to Congress to correct the flaws of the WPP, particularly the low financial support the government gives to make it successful, when he appeared during a committee hearing in the House of Representatives. (PNA)

SCS/SFM

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