Serious illegal detention charges have been filed against Quezon Province 4th District Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan, her husband Department of Public Works and Highways Region 1 Director Engr. Ronnel Tan, and a newspaper correspondent with the Makati City Prosecutor’s Office for their alleged roles in the imprisonment of a councilor of Lopez, Quezon.
According to the complaint filed by Lopez Councilor Arkie Manuel Ortiz-Yulde, the Tan couple and Jaime Aquino, the correspondent in Pangasinan of a national daily, were liable for the charge under Article 267 of the Revised Penal Code as “through fraudulent and illegal means, they have skewed judicial processes.”
Yulde was jailed for five months on three charges of rape, serious illegal detention, and child abuse, but was freed last Feb. 9 as the cases were dismissed “not only for lack of legal basis but also on ground of denial of the right to speedy trial,” the councilor said in his complaint.
Makati Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Susan T. Villanueva received the councilor’s complaint Thursday afternoon.
In a text message, the office of Congresswoman Tan told the Standard they were unaware of Yulde’s complaint.
Ilocos Region DPWH Director Tan and Aquino have yet to comment on the charges at press time.
Yulde is a political supporter of incumbent Quezon Gov. Danilo Suarez, who Rep. Tan is challenging in the May 9 elections.
The councilor said he moved forward with his complaint after Aquino’s own son, Jestin, revealed to him that his father was involved with the “anomalies” of the Tan couple.
Jestin Tan served as the personal assistant and driver of his father, and “he knew all of Jaime’s transactions,” Yulde said in his complaint.
“From the perspective of the respondents, my detention was illegal by reason of estoppel,” the councilor said. “The respondents may still be indicted as principals by inducement even if nobody is criminally liable as principal by direct participation and/or by indispensable cooperation.”
Estoppel is a judicial device in common-law legal systems whereby a court may prevent or “estop” a person from making assertions or from going back on his or her word; the person being sanctioned is “estopped,” and estoppel may prevent someone from bringing a particular claim.
“From the perspective of those who issued and implemented the judicial processes in question (leading to his imprisonment), it can be said that my detention was legal by reason of good faith and for lack of criminal intent,” Yulde said in his complaint.
The councilor was arrested last Sept. 21, 2021, detained starting Nov. 21, and was only absolved on Feb. 9 with the with joint order of Office of Provincial Prosecutor Pangasinan, “without the prosecution having presented evidence to prove that the guilt of the accused is strong,” the complaint added.
“Worse, (Yulde’s accusers) presented evidence to show that the evidence submitted… during the preliminary investigation (against Yulde) are fake,” the councilor added.
“While I may have been already vindicated (by being freed), the question that lingered was: who should be held responsible for my illegal and unwarranted detention resulting from said faked and fictitious charges?” he said.
Yulde said the charges that led to his five-month detention came after he filed a complaint with the Ombudsman and the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission for grave misconduct and violations of Republic Acts 6713, 3015, and 7160 against DPWH Director Tan for a lavish “paagaw ng pera” (money grab game) during his birthday party, which Congresswoman Tan has denied.