film directors

Prosecutors push arson charge vs director Jade Castro, companions

Jairo Bolledo

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Prosecutors push arson charge vs director Jade Castro, companions

ARRESTED. File photo of film director Jade Castro.

Rappler

(1st UPDATE) 'We were hoping that the prosecutor would dismiss the case and my brother and his friends could go home. But we are still optimistic that when this reaches the court, the judge will clearly see that my brother and his friends are innocent,' Castro's family says

MANILA, Philippines – The prosecution recommended the filing of destructive arson charge against film director Jade Castro and his friends, Castro’s lawyer confirmed to Rappler.

In a text message, Carmela Peña, one of Castro’s legal counsels, told Rappler that the prosecution found probable cause to indict the director and his companions – Ernesto Orcine, Noel Mariano, and Dominic Ramos – over the allegations against them. This means the case is set proceed to the court.

However, Castro’s defense team can still file a motion for reconsideration to ask the prosecution reconsider its resolution to indict the four.

In a statement, the Castro family said they were disappointed with the latest development on the case:
“We were hoping that the prosecutor would dismiss the case and my brother and his friends could go home. But we are still optimistic that when this reaches the court, the judge will clearly see that my brother and his friends are innocent. We hope for continuous support from the public until Direk Jade and his friends are set free.”

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, one of Castro’s counsels, said in a post in X (formerly Twitter) that the filing of the case in the court provides several avenues for the director to be released.

This includes the immediate dismissal of the case due to lack of probable cause, temporary freedom through bail, or quashal (dismissal) of the case, Diokno explained.

“The filing of the case in court also gives Jade and his companions additional safeguards. As the accused in a court of law, they can now assert their right to a fair and speedy trial, to be presumed innocent, and other rights that protect ordinary people like Jade from vexatious and arbitrary prosecution,” the human rights lawyer said.

“We will do whatever it takes within the law to set them free,” he added.

Castro, who helmed critically acclaimed films like Endo and Zombadings, and three of his friends were arrested without warrant on February 1, for allegedly burning a modern jeepney in a Quezon Province town. The four have been detained for over two weeks already.

The alleged crime was committed in Catanauan town in Quezon, less than an hour away from Mulanay town, where Castro said he and his friends were staying for a vacation. ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol reported that a closed circuit television footage (CCTV) showed Castro and his friend’s car were passing through a Mulanay road at around 7 pm on January 31, about the same time when the crime was being committed in Catanauan.

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Another CCTV footage showed that at around 7:25 pm of the same night, the film director was seen filming the rehearsal of a local pageant in Mulanay town plaza. Two Mulanay town officials also noted that they were with Castro and his friends when the alleged crime happened in the other town.

Earlier this week, Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 928, which urged the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs to hold a probe into the arrest of Castro and his companions. Hontiveros criticized the police for a practice that she dubbed as “arrest-now, explain-later.”

Over two weeks since the arrest of Castro and companions, notable and prominent names in the film and entertainment industry have called for their release. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.