Prosecutors downgrade to homicide case against suspect in killing of Bicol journo

Rhaydz B. Barcia
Albay prosecutors say investigators did not present probable cause to merit a murder case against the suspect in the killing of Philippine Star correspondent Celso Amo

CELSO AMO. In this file photo, veteran journalist Celso Amo (middle) sings during a media fellowship with military officials in Bicol. Photo by Rhaydz B. Barcia/Rappler

ALBAY, Philippines – The Albay Provincial Prosecutor’s Office downgraded Tuesday, November 13, to homicide the murder charges filed by the police against the suspect in the killing of journalist Celso Amo of the Philippine Star.

Daraga town police chief Superintendent Benito Dipad actually filed Monday, November 12, a case of murder against the Adam Johnson Abanes  for stabbing Amo to death in a basketball court.

The prosecutors, however said investigators failed to show probable cause against Amo’s alleged killer.

Maria Miranda Gojar, the assistant prosecutor, said that after reviewing the case, duty inquest prosecutors recommended that homicide charges be filed to the court, instead of murder. Gojar said the police failed to prove other elements that would warrant the filing of murder charges against the suspect.

Investigation showed that the victim Amo and the suspect had an argument during a basketball game. 

The suspect left the court, only to return later carrying a blade. Abanes first struck in the back, then kept stabbing several times all over the Amo’s body.

 According to Dipad, the prosecutors, during the case review, found that the police, despite a written affidavit, was not able to present a key witness that would prove the murder charges.

Dipad said that he would immediately work with a key witness, willing to appear to the inquest proceeding and cooperate with the authorities.

Dipad said that as soon as the key witnesses appear in inquest proceedings they will submit a supplemental affidavit in the court to elevate to murder the charges against Abanes.

Meanwhile,  the tri-media in Albay continued to grieve over the passing of their colleague Amo.  – Rappler.com