MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 19 issued a writ of amparo to the parents of a minor who accused Pangasinan Gov Amado Espino Jr. and Rep Jesus Celeste of plotting the murder of a mayor.
The SC issued the writ of amparo sought by Pangasinan-based newspaper publisher Jaime Aquino and wife Ester who asked the SC to order the National Bureau of Investigation and the group Akap-Bata Caritas to release his son, whom he said could not be a credible witness because he is a drug user and a thief.
The information provided by the 16-year-old witness led to the filing of a murder case against Espino and Celeste on February 12. He told authorities he was present in a November 2011 meeting where Espino and Celeste allegedly planned the killing of Infanta Mayor Ruperto Martinez.
Espino, Celeste, Zambales Gov Hermogenes Ebdane and Aquino allegedly talked about disposing Martinez because of his knowledge of the “black rock” or the quarrying of nickel.
Jaime Aquino’s son has accused him of child abuse and participating in other crimes, however.
The SC also directed the Court of Appeals to hear the petition on February 28 and decide the case within 10 days after submission for decision. The High Court also ordered the NBI, the Department of Justice and Akap-Bata Caritas to make a verified return of the writ within 72 hours.
Publisher of community paper Northern Weekly, Aquino said both Espino and Celeste are now accusing him of allegedly using his son to testify against them.
Espino and Celeste, both members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), are both seeking re-election in the 2013 polls. Espino is pitted against Hernani Braganza of the Liberal Party, the political party of President Benigno Aquino III.
The LP and NPC have an alliance in Pangasinan, as NPC is headed by Aquino’s uncle Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.
Espino earlier said the issues being raised against him are politically motivated. – Rappler.com