Prosecutor upholds dismissal of Estancia triple murder case

(Photo courtesy of Jerry Medina via Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon

Plaintiffs in the controversial Estancia triple murder case suffered another legal blow after the Iloilo Provincial Prosecutor’s Office junked the motion to reverse its earlier decision to dismiss the charges against 11 suspects.

In a 3-page joint resolution submitted on February 17, 2023, Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Ronilo Pamonag pointed out that the plaintiffs failed to present “new nor cogent and substantial arguments” that will merit the reversal of the dismissal of charges against the following erstwhile respondents:

* Jevron Parohinog, the lone survivor of the incident;

* Jevron’s brother Jix Parohinog;

* Michael Porras;

* Michael Quiatchon;

* Benzen “Moi” Llamado; and

* and six “John Does.”

The respondents were linked to the deaths of Jan Paul “JP” Bosque, Chrysler Floyd Fernandes, and Mark Clarence Libao whose bodies were at Barangay Villa Panian, Estancia on Sept. 14, 2022.

The complainants in the case were Colonel Noel Aliño, Iloilo Police Provincial Office (IPPO) chief and commander of the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) PALIBOSFER; and Lieutenant Colonel Raymond Celoso, IPPO’s Special Task Group Inter-Agency Coordinator.

The victims’ kin – Flover Fernandez, Remy Bosque, and Jose Rabiel Libao – were also named as plaintiffs in the case.

The victims’ kin – Fernandez, Bosque, and Libao – stood as “movants” in the filing of the Motion for Reconsideration dated Dec. 28, 2022.

On Jan. 11, 2023, the movants filed a Supplement to Motion for Reconsideration.

It was only Llamado who filed a comment to the motion filed by the movants.

In filing for the motion for reconsideration, the plaintiffs/movants raised three arguments:

* Parohinog’s judicial affidavit is admissible as he was not under custodial investigation when he executed the same;

* evidence indicates that the crimes were committed in Estancia, Iloilo; and,

* there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to warrant a finding of probable cause against respondent Parohinog.

But the prosecutor denied the movants’ prayer for reconsideration stating that even at the early onset of the investigation, it appeared that

Parohinog “was the focus or was already considered as a suspect or someone who has had active participation in the incident that he himself reported.”

To highlight this point, among the moves cited by the prosecutor are:

-Parohinog undergoing paraffin examination on September 14;

-the execution of his first judicial affidavit on September 15; and

-the conduct of the luminol examination on the container van where an ice-making machine was located, several portions of Parohinog’s residence, and the vehicle carrying him and the victims on September 28.

The joint resolution also pointed out efforts by the local police for Parohinog to undergo a lie detector test, which he declined.

“Therefore, the rules regarding custodial investigation, particularly the taking of written statements, already apply,” it added.

Further, “as a consequence, the issue on the admissibility or inadmissibility of Parohinog’s written statements shall be resolved in the light of their compliance or non-compliance with what the Constitution and the laws require. On this note, as we have opined, the judicial affidavits are inadmissible.”

As to plaintiff/movants’ contention that the pieces of evidence indicate with certainty that the crimes were committed in Estancia, Iloilo, the prosecution cited that the police investigators have not made any clarification regarding their statement in its final investigation dated Nov. 18, 2022.

It can be noted that the motion for reconsideration was filed after the prosecutor dismissed the charges for the police’s failure to present prima facie evidence that the respondents connived with each other in committing the triple murders.

In an 11-page resolution dated Dec 10, 2022, Pamonag recommended that the murder case against five identified suspects and six “John Does” be denied course and dismissed.

Provincial Prosecutor Ma. Elena M. Hofileña-Gerochi approved the recommendation.

“The records of the instant complaints are bereft of any circumstance which may indicate, much less suggest, that Jix (Parohinog), Porras, Quiachon, Llamado, and the John Does know each other, or the manner by which they conspired with each other. As a matter of fact, the direct or indirect participation and contribution of each individual in the supposed conspiracy was never shown and established, or even alleged with sufficient particularity,” the resolution read.