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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Quiapo slay suspect indicted

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THE Department of Justice has approved the criminal prosecution of Vhon Martin Tanto, the Philippine Army reservist who figured in a road rage incident that killed a motorist and injured a student in Manila last July.

In an eight-page resolution, the DOJ found sufficient basis to file murder and serious physical injury charges against Tanto by the families of slain victim Mark Vincent Garalde and Rossel Bondoc, the 18-year-old student who was seriously injured during the incident.

Prosecutor General Claro Arellano, chief of the DOJ’s national prosecution service, revealed that the cases would be filed against Tanto before the Manila City Regional Trial Court within this week.

This came after Assistant State Prosecutors Jeannette Dacpano and Robert Ong Jr. found probable cause to indict Tanto for murder and serious physical injury or for violation of Article 248 and Article 263, respectively, of the Revised Penal Code.

“Based on the admission made by respondent Tanto, which contains details that only the person who committed the crime could have possibly known, it is pristine clear that he was the one who intentionally shot victim Garalde and involuntarily injured victim Bondoc,” the resolution stated.

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Besides respondent’s confession for committing the crimes, the prosecutors also gave weight to the testimony of witness Bryan Yu, who saw Tanto shooting Garalde four times at close range after their fist fight, and CCTV recording of the incident that was submitted by the barangay where the incident took place.

According to the prosecutors, the murder’s key element of treachery was present in the case since Garalde already turned his back from Tanto and was already moving away from the scene when the latter shot him.

They also noted that the victim “was not afforded any chance to defend himself when he was shot four times.”

“Execution of the crime was directly and specifically for ensured by respondent without risk to himself from the defense that the victim might make,” they said.

Another element of murder present in the case was the use of superior strength by the respondent, the prosecutors explained. They said Tanto took advantage of his possession of firearm and expertise in shooting in intentionally killing Garalde.

Lastly, prosecutors cited the attempt of Tanto to hide from authorities after the incident.

“In criminal law, flight means the act of evading the course of justice by voluntarily withdrawing one’s self to avoid arrest of detention or the institution or continuance of criminal proceedings. Flight, in jurisprudence, has always been strong indication of guilt,” the prosecutors stressed.

As for the case of Bondoc, the prosecutors downgraded the charge from frustrated murder to serious physical injury, explaining that there was no intention to kill her and that she was merely hit by stray bullet from Tanto’s firearm.

During or imitate investigation hearing, lawyers of Tanto opted not to answer the charges in the DOJ anymore so as to abbreviate the proceedings and instead present their defenses immediately in a court trial.

In earlier interview, Tanto claimed that he had no intention of killing   Garalde and claimed that he only lost his temper because of the cyclist’s arrogance during their altercation.

The altercation started when Tanto’s car was nearly hit by Garalde’s bicycle along Vergara Street, a few meters away from P. Casal Street where the fistfight and shooting took place last July 25.

Public Attorney’s Office chief Persida Rueda – Acosta has represented the families of Garalde and Bondoc in filing the charges before the DOJ.

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