Thursday, March 11, 2010

Judge who convicted GMA ally finds herself in hot water (Devanadera files ‘unjust’ decision rap)


Original Story:

FORMER Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera has ordered the filing of criminal charges against Quezon City Judge Theresa dela Torre-Yadao for rendering an unjust judgment in the murder case against former Occidental Mindoro Rep. Jose Villarosa, a political ally of President Arroyo.

In her nine-page resolution, Devanadera directed the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office to investigate Yadao, presiding judge of RTC Branch 81, in connection with the complaint of Villarosa that the judge "knowingly rendered an unjust judgment" in convicting him for the murder of the Quintos brothers in Dec. 13, 1997.

Devanadera issued the order a few days before she resigned to seek a congressional seat in Quezon province’s first district.

She reversed the findings of State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera that Yadao did not violate Article 204 of the Revised Penal Code on the ground that the judge reached her decision "in good faith."

The Code provides stiff penalty ranging from 12 to 20 years imprisonment against judges and prosecutors who render "unjust decisions,"

Devanadera said the DOJ finds Navera’s "good faith" argument and the defense of denial by Yadao to be too trusting and sweeping in nature, especially in the light of the conclusions reached by the Court of Appeals.

Devanadera further said that Yadao’s defense of good faith is a matter that she could very well raise during the trial on the merits.

"Nobody, not even this Office, can claim that he or she could read the mind of the respondent Judge, as to be able to conclude with certainty that she acted with or without malice, that is, she had willfully and feloniously rendered a judgment that was not in conformity with the evidence and had acted with full knowledge aforethought with the criminal intent to render an injustice upon the petitioner," Devanadera said.

"This Office is satisfied, from the records reviewed by it, that there is a prima facie basis to believe that respondent judge had criminally and knowingly rendered an unjust judgment, and that she should be held answerable in our courts of law," she added.

Villarosa filed the complaint against Yadao after the CA in March 2008 overturned the RTC’s verdict convicting him for the murders of Michael and Paul Quintos, paving the way for his release and his three-co-accused.

Villarosa alleged that Yadao deliberately disregarded his testimony and the evidence he presented.

He said Yadao sweepingly concluded that considering the proximity of Manila and Mindoro and the availability of faster modes of transportation such as helicopters and light planes, Villarosa’s presence in Mindoro, where the murders took place, to command his co-accused to carry out their plan, was "within the realm of possibility."

The CA, in its decision on Feb. 3, 2006, reversed Yadao’s ruling and acquitted Villarosa and some of the accused and ordered their release from detention.

The Quintos family elevated the case to the Supreme Court which remains pending.

Original Story:

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