Northern Mindanao top prosecutor accused of carnapping

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Thursday, April 24, 2014

JUSTICE Secretary Leila de Lima has been urged to investigate and penalize her top prosecutor in Northern Mindanao for alleged carnapping of a sports utility vehicle and harassment of a man in Zamboanga del Sur.

Complainant Jose Elbina of Barangay Maguikay, Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur said Regional State Prosecutor Jaime Umpa grabbed his Toyota Fortuner through the help of the town's policemen.

Elbina said he was driving his vehicle last February 11 when the police apprehended and told him that the car belongs to Umpa.

"Without any court order and without my consent, Umpa, in conspiracy with the Aurora Police, took away the said vehicle after being held in custody for a short period. Aware of my rights, I demanded repeatedly from Umpa the return of my vehicle but he has refused to do so," Elbina said in his letter to de Lima.

The complainant claimed he has a Deed of Sale dated July 20, 2012 as proof of ownership of the vehicle, which he bought from CCR Car Display in Talisay City, Cebu, owned by a certain Florito Caballero.

Elbina is currently pursuing carnapping charges against Umpa and the Aurora police before the Zamboanga del Sur Provincial Prosecutor's Office and a civil case of recovery of possession of motor vehicle with the Aurora Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 30.

Umpa, meanwhile, filed human trafficking charges against Elbina before the Lanao del Norte Provincial Prosecutor's Office, which is under Umpa's control.

Because of this, Elbina asked de Lima to transfer the hearing of trafficking charges to Zamboanga City or Zamboanga del Sur as he feared that he could not obtain a "fair and credible preliminary investigation" from Lanao del Norte prosecutors.

"For as long as he remains the Regional State Prosecutor of Region 10, the investigating prosecutor will not hesitate to side with him," Elbina said.

Umpa is seeking re-election as president of the Prosecutors' League of the Philippines. (Sunnex)

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