The Court of Appeals has ordered the prosecution of fishing magnate Lope Jimenez, accused of killing Ruby Rose Barrameda, sister of a former actress.
The CA Fourth Division through Associate Justice Eduardo Peralta Jr. affirmed the findings of the Department of Justice of probable cause against Jimenez, the uncle-in-law of the victim.
The Sept. 21, 2015 CA ruling was also concurred by Associate Justices Noel Tijam and Francisco Acosta.
Ruby Rose, sister of actress and former beauty queen Rochelle Barrameda, went missing on March 14, 2007.
After two years, her body was found inside a steel case in a drum sealed with cement recovered from Navotas seaport.
Accused Manuel Montero, who surfaced in 2009, provided details that lead to the discovery of the remains of Ruby Rose.
Montero executed sworn statements where he admitted his participation in the killing of Barrameda and named the victim’s father-in-law Manuel Jimenez Jr., as well as Lope Jimenez, Lennard Descalso alias “Spyke,” Robert Ponce alias “Obet” and Eric Fernandez as co-conspirators.
The CA denied the petition filed by Lope seeking the dismissal of the case on the basis of the information after finding of probable cause of the DoJ.
The CA cited vital information found by the DoJ which affirmed the finding of probable cause against Lope on the basis of Montero’s testimony.
The pieces of information included the fact that Montero was able to pinpoint the exact location of the cadaver beyond the shores of Navotas, his description of the drum and its steel casing where Barrameda’s body was placed and cemented and the description of the victim’s clothes when she was abducted before she was killed.
The CA said that the secretary of Justice did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in finding probable cause.
“A sufficient ground was established to engender a well-founded belief that the persons mentioned by Montero, including petitioner, were indeed probably guilty of the crime imputed against them,” the CA ruled.
The CA also did not give credence to the claim of Lope that the case must be dismissed on the basis of technicality under the doctrine of “res inter alios acta,” or when the rights of a party cannot be prejudiced by an act, declaration of omission of another (Montero’s testimony as co-accused).
The CA pushed for the trial of the case since it is within the province of the prosecution to conduct preliminary investigation and determine if there is prima facie evidence against the accused.
On Lope’s allegation of lack of motive and Montero’s “ax to grind” against him and the alleged irreconcilable difference between him, Lope and his brother Manuel Jimenez, the CA deemed it best to put the case on trial.