Monday, March 27, 2006

DOJ Seeks Transfer of Subic Rape Case to Manila

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez is seeking the transfer of the hearing of the rape charge against four American servicemen from Olongapo City to Manila. This after Judge Renato Dilag inhibited himself from hearing the case earlier this month.

Gonzalez said there are only three judges in the Olongapo Regional Trial Court. Aside from Dilag, another judge has a conflict of interest because he has connections with one of the counsels of the American soldiers. A third judge can try the case but is due to retire in December.

"We don't want to risk it. Assuming the third judge hears it and retires in December the time without a judge can be charged against the one-year prescription period as laid out in the Visiting Forces Agreement," Gonzalez said.

The Supreme Court is due to tackle the request of the Justice Department during its en banc session on Tuesday.

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