Suspect in Navarro mauling blocked from leaving PHL

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Monday, April 14, 2014

MANILA -- One of the seven suspects in the mauling of television host-actor Vhong Navarro was not allowed to take a flight to Hong Kong early Monday as Justice Secretary Leila de Lima deemed it as an attempt to evade prosecution from cases pending before a Taguig court.

Ferdinand Guerrero was supposed to board Cebu Pacific flight 5J-108 at 4:43 a.m. but the Bureau of Immigration (BI) personnel blocked his trip due to his inclusion in the lookout bulletin order (LBO) issued by De Lima on January 29.

“Guerrero was referred to secondary inspection and was not cleared for departure upon coordination with concerned government agencies,” said lawyer Elaine Tan, technical assistant at the Office of BI Commissioner Siegfred Mison.

An LBO does not stop individuals from leaving the Philippines since it is merely a notice that a person or persons is/are attempting to depart.

However, De Lima said Guerrero cannot easily go abroad now that serious illegal detention and grave coercion cases against him, Cedric Lee, Deniece Cornejo and four others had already been filed in court.

She added that the purpose of Guerrero’s trip has no “color of legitimacy” as she reminded other respondents in the case to seek permission from either the DOJ-National Prosecution Service or the court. Otherwise, they may face detention for attempting to obstruct justice.

“This is a criminal offense and therefore if you are attempting to leave you, you can be arrested and subjected to inquest proceedings. That is our course of action at this point while waiting for the court to issue a hold departure order or an arrest warrant,” De Lima told reporters.

Earlier, a television report said a certain Cedric Lee booked a flight for Dubai on April 12 but it was subsequently cancelled.

Lee, whose group beat up Navarro at a condominium unit in Taguig on January 22, had said he has no plan to leave the country and run away from the cases.

Prosecutors are set to oppose Lee camp’s motion for judicial determination for probable cause in a hearing on Tuesday. The motion has to be resolved first before the court can decide on the issuance of the arrest warrants and HDOs. (Virgil Lopez/FP/Sunnex)

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