Prosecutor files cases of illegal possession of firearm, bullets vs Joavan

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

JOAVAN Fernandez is facing more criminal cases as he was carrying a gun and bullets when law enforcers caught him on a beach in Moalboal, Cebu last Monday.

Prosecutor Jerome Abarca of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor’s Office filed charges of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition (Republic Act 8294), and violation of the election gun ban against Fernandez before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 60 in Barili.

The 30-year-old adopted son of Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez opted not to avail of his right to preliminary investigation.


Bail was set at P60,000 for the gun ban violation and P80,000 for the illegal
possessions of firearms case. But Joavan could not post bail because he is also facing an illegal possession of explosive charge, which is non-bailable, before RTC Branch 10 in Cebu City.


But Joavan was not brought to the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) because RTC Branch 60 was open only for half the day yesterday.

The police want Joavan detained at the CPDRC to prevent him from escaping again.

Joavan, recently declared Cebu’s “public enemy number one,” bolted the detention cell
of the Talisay City Police Station last May 8.

Cebu Province Police Office (CPPO) Director Patrocinio Comendador, in a separate interview, said the police may file charges for harboring a criminal against the beach
resort where Joavan reportedly stayed since last Sunday.

“We will look into if there's a sign of deliberate intent,” he said.

Comendador said they received a report that Joavan boarded a pumpboat from Talisay City to reach Moalboal, four days after he was sighted in Lapu-Lapu City.


Joavan clad in blue jeans and a t-shirt appeared subdued. When approached by reporters, he said: “Talk to my lawyer.”

The CPPO’s Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch (PIDMB) started investigating PO3 Leandro Azarcon, the jailer-on-duty when Joavan escaped last May 8.

Insp. Julius Ompad, head of PIDMB, said Azarcon underwent a pre-charge evaluation to determine if there is a probable cause to indict him.

In his one-page explanation letter, Azarcon, who has served the Talisay City Police Station for 12 years, admitted he committed a mistake but claimed that he did it in good faith.

“I had no intention to let the prisoner escape,” he said.

Phone call

He said he took pity on Joavan and allowed him to see his wife and children past visiting hours.

Azarcon said that Joavan’s wife gave her cellular phone to him because Mayor Fernandez allegedly wanted to talk to him. He added that while he was on the phone with the mayor, Joavan ran away and boarded a government vehicle that was waiting outside the police substation.

Mayor Fernandez said he hopes Joavan will be detained in the Talisay City jail in Barangay Maghaway so he will not be away from his family.

He said Joavan’s arrest was a relief to him. “Nakabaton ko og kalinaw sa hunahuna (His arrest gave me peace of mind),” he added.

The mayor, whose term will end on June 30, said he is preparing for his adopted son’s legal battles.

Other charges

He said the Talisay City Jail, run by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, has nationally recognized security features.

In his May 6 arrest, Joavan was reportedly carrying a gun, bullets and a grenade, which caused the filing of illegal possession of firearms, illegal possession of explosive and gun ban violation charges before RTC Branch 10, presided by Judge Soliver Peras.

Before that, Joavan was also charged for shooting an employee of a car dealership in
Talisay City.

Joavan was able to elude authorities for 12 days before the Moalboal police found him outside a resort as he was about to board a motorboat that would take him to the neighboring island of Negros.


Arrested with Joavan were Beneto Sellon, 48, and Carlito Cañada, 38, who will be charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly trying to help the mayor’s son leave Cebu. Bail was set at P12,000 for each man.

Due to his escape, Judge Peras issued an order last May 15 increasing Joavan’s bail for the illegal possession of firearm to P500,000 and violation of the election gun ban charge to P300,000.

Azarcon, who has been in the police service for 23 years, said he is planning to retire soon and put up a business to be able to care for a deaf-mute daughter.

The PIDMB is expected to come up with its recommendations on Azarcon’s case next week.

Ompad, in an earlier interview, said Azarcon might face an administrative complaint
for grave misconduct, whose maximum penalty is dismissal from service. In this case, the policeman might not be able to claim his retirement benefits.

In a press conference yesterday, Chief Supt. Samuel Yordan, deputy director for
administration of the Police Regional Office 7, assured that Joavan will not escape again.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 22, 2013.

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