CA: Dismissal of Navy men tagged in Pestaño death final

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

THE Court of Appeals (CA) stood by its decision upholding Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales' order firing 10 Navy officers and enlisted personnel linked to the death of Navy Ensign Philip Andrew Pestaño in 1995.

In a resolution, the CA Former Ninth Division junked the motion for reconsideration of the Navy officers for lack of merit.

Found guilty of grave misconduct by the Ombudsman were Navy Captain Ricardo Ordoñez, Commander Reynaldo Lopez, Commander Alfrederick Alba, Lieutenant Commander Luidegar Casis, Lieutenant Commander Joselito Colico, Lieutenant Commander Ruben Roque, Machinery Repairman 2nd Class Sandy Miranda, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Welmenio Aquino, Petty Officer 1st Class Carlito Amoroso and Petty Officer 2nd Class Mil Leonor Igacasan.

The 10 were then dismissed from the service and charged with murder before the Sandiganbayan in January 2012. The Navy men asked the CA to stop their indictment for murder but the court noted that the Ombudsman has yet to resolve their appeal.

The Sandiganbayan eventually junked the murder cases in October 2012, saying it had no jurisdiction as none of the accused held the rank of captain or higher when the alleged crime took place.

The Sandiganbayan clarified, however, that the case was "dismissed without prejudice to the filing of the case in the proper court."

Pestaño was found dead inside his cabin in the Navy logistics ship BRP Bacolod City on September 27, 1995. The military concluded that his death was a suicide, showing a note that was found near his body.

His family refused to believe the military, noting that Pestaño tried to blow the whistle on the anomalies taking place in a navy vessel such as shabu trafficking amounting to P1 billion and the boarding of illegally cut logs. (Sunnex)

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