Tuesday, March 28, 2006

SC Orders Transfer of Subic Rape Case to Makati

The Supreme Court ordered the transfer of the trial of the rape charge filed by a 21-year old Filipina against four American servicemen from Olongapo City to the Makati Regional Trial Court.

The Department of Justice on Monday requested the SC to transfer the trial due to unavailability of trial judges in Olongapo. Judge Renato Dilag who previously handled the case inhibited himself citing conflict of interest.

There are two more judges in Olongapo but Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez said Judge Reynaldo Caguioa may also inhibit himself because his brother supposedly has connections with one of the counsels of the American soldiers.

A third judge, Avelino Lazo is due to retire in December which Gonzalez said, can delay the proceedings.

"We don't want to risk it. We have a one year prescription period to beat," Gonzalez said.

The Makati Regional Trial Court upon receipt of the SC order will raffle the case to a judge.

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