Coast Guard men seek homicide case dismissal

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Friday, August 29, 2014

EIGHT members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) recently told a Batanes court that they cannot be held on trial for homicide due to the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman in May last year.

In a motion to quash, the Coast Guard men said there is no proof to show that Hung shih-cheng is dead.

They said Taiwanese authorities refused to give the death certificate and autopsy report to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) when they met for a parallel probe and NBI medico-legal officer Ruperto Sombillon has not conducted an examination of Hung’s body.

“Of course, Dr. Sombillon purportedly saw a video and some pictures of the supposed autopsy of Hung. However, in fact of the matter is that they in fact show that it was not Dr. Sombillon who conducted an autopsy. This further underscores that Dr. Sombillon has no personal knowledge of Hung’s death. As such, Dr. Sombillon’s statements regarding Hung’s death is hearsay,” stated the motion filed before the Batanes Regional Trial Court branch 13.

Hung was shot by the coast guards on May 9, 2013 when the 65-year-old fisherman and his group, suspected of poaching in the Balintang Channel, refused to stop and tried to ram the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) ship MCS 3001.

Homicide cases were then slapped against Coast Guard Commander Arnold dela Cruz, Seaman Second Class Nicky Aurello, Seamen First Class Edrando Aguila, Mhelvyn Bendo III, Andy Gibb Glofo, Sunny Masangkay and Henry Solomon and Petty Officer 2 Richard Corpuz.

De la Cruz and Bendo were also charged with obstruction of justice before a Cagayan court for tampering evidence. The eight PCG men are currently on bail.

The incident caused uproar in Taiwan, which even halted the renewal of Filipino manufacturing workers after finding the apology of Philippine government insufficient.

Taiwan only lifted the sanction after the NBI released a recommendation in August last year to press charges against the coast guards. (Sunnex)

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