King slay suspects yet to apply for witness protection

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

NONE of the three suspects in the murder of Cebuano businessman Richard Lim King have yet to apply for a witness protection program, an official of the Davao City Prosecutor's Office said.

Davao City Prosecutor's Office public information officer and assistant prosecution lawyer Jay Karel Sanchez told Sun.Star Davao in an interview that suspects Paul Dave Molina Labang and brothers Rommel and Rodel dela Cerna have yet to apply for a witness protection program.

"None of the accused has applied to be covered in the witness protection program. I will not comment as to whether there are other witnesses who will apply or have applied for a witness protection program but what is clear is that none of the three accused have applied," Sanchez said.


She also said that the City Prosecutor's Office is still assessing whether or not the three suspects are qualified to be discharged as state witnesses.

Sanchez clarified that there is a difference between the application for the witness protection program and the filing of the motion to discharge the accused as state witness.

"The discharge of the state witness should be addressed to the branch of court and not to the City Prosecution Office or the Department of Justice (DOJ), although it would be the City Prosecution Office who will file the motion. So it's still under evaluation whether the prosecution would move for the discharge of any of the accused as state witness. But for the coverage of the witness protection program, it should be addressed to the City Prosecution Office or DOJ and so far none of them have applied," Sanchez said.

The legal counsel for the three suspects Behn Joseph Tesiorna has already showed his intent to apply a witness protection when he filed an omnibus motion dated July 7 before the Regional Trial Court Branch 17 to keep his clients within the custody of the Davao City Police Office Investigation and Detection Management Branch.

In the same motion, Tesiorna cited that the lives of the respondents may be in danger after they implicated former Regional Intelligence Unit-Davao head Superintendent Leonardo Felonia in their respective extrajudicial confessions as the one who hired them to kill King. (RSA)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 17, 2014.

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