Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Prosecutor wants judge to reconsider order

The Manila Times Reporter
Olongapo Chief Prosecutor Prudencio Jalandoni will ask Judge Renato Dilag of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court to reconsider an earlier order deferring the arraignment of the four US Marines charged with raping a 22-year-old Filipina in Subic.
Jalandoni said he will appeal the ruling on Wednesday because it might cause confusion on what would be the reckoning period under the Visiting Forces Agreement of the one-year prescription of the prosecution of accused Americans.
Jalandoni sees no need to wait for the resolution of the petition for review filed by Keith Silkwood, Dominic Duplantis, Daniel Smith and Chad Carpentier before they are arraigned. He fears that the country may not meet the one-year deadline if the arraignment is deferred to give time for the petitionsÂ’ outcomes.
"We know that the counting will start on the arraignment, but what if the US government has another interpretation, such as that the countdown will start once the case is filed in court?" Jalandoni pointed out.
He said that it could cause a debate if the one-year period shall start from the filing of the case in court or from the time of arraignment. Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez has opined that it shall start from the time of arraignment.
Judge Dilag, in an order issued last week, said he would wait until the Department of Justice resolved the petition for review filed by the four Marines. The justice department has 60 days to resolve the petition by which the arraignment will remain suspended.
On the other hand, if the 60-day period has lapsed and the Marines havenÂ’t been arraigned, Dilag said he would go ahead with the arraignment.


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