By Artemio A. Dumlao
BAGUIO CITY (October 9, 2013) – State prosecutors in La Union has dismissed murder raps filed by the National Bureau of Investigation-Cordillera against La Paz town mayor Joseph Sto Nino Bernos and his father, Danglas town vice mayor Andres Bernos.
Finding insufficient evidence over the confession of an alleged gunman-killer, La Union acting provincial prosecutor Crispin Navalta Jr. who was assigned by the Regional State Prosecution Service after the NBI sought the inhibition of Abra state prosecutors found confessed gunman Jacobo Badua instead to answer for the murders he said were ordered by the father-son tandem (one in July 2002, one in 2004 and another murder in 2006).
Pros. Navalta Jr. in his resolution said, “no other evidence has been presented or submitted (by the NBI-Cordillera) to corroborate the accusation of Badua against the (Bernoses), explaining that conspiracy was not proven even with the admission of the self-confessed killer.
Badua, who is still being kept by authorities earlier narrated to the NBI how Mayor Bernos and vice mayor Bernos ordered him to kill at least two villagers and seeing how another assassin gunned down another also upon the father-son tandem.
The Bernoses earlier on have also dismissed Badua’s confession as fabricated purportedly to get back because of their foes’ political losses including Badua, who according to Mayor Bernos is facing a murder charge, including other cases in the past.
Pros. Navalta Jr. however explained in his ruling that the NBI relied solely on the confession of Badua and nothing else to prove conspiracy.
The state prosecutor further argued in his ruling dismissing the murder case citing jurisprudence in (People vs. Cui, et al. G.R. No. 121982, September 10, 1999, the Supreme Court) that: “the general rule is that extra-judicial declarations of a co-conspirator made before the formation of the conspiracy or after the accomplishment of its object are inadmissible in evidence as against the co-conspirators, on the ground that the accused in a criminal case has the constitutional right to be confronted with the witnesses against him and to cross-examine them.”
Navalta Jr. ruled on September 11, 2013, two days after he was assigned by the Regional State Prosecution service to conduct an investigation on the raps.***Artemio A. Dumlao*** (abrenian.com)