The Department of Justice (DOJ) has denied the Motion for Reconsideration that petitioned to reverse the dismissal of the "Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide" case against actor Richard Gutierrez.
In a Resolution dated May 28, the DOJ through Justice Secretary Alberto Agra said it found "no cogent reason to alter or modify, much less reverse, our findings." It added, "The grounds raised in the instant Motion were duly considered and passed upon" in the March 1 resolution.
Lorayne Pardo filed the Motion for Reconsideration with the DOJ last March 22, ten months after the death of her husband, Nomar Pardo, who was killed in the car accident involving Richard Gutierrez and the Nissan Skyline he was driving on a highway in Silang, Cavite. Nomar was thrown out of the rear window and was declared "Dead On Arrival" at the Adventist University of the Philippine Hospital in Silang, Cavite. (CLICK HERE to read related story.)
Last March 1, the "reckless imprudence" case that Lorayne Pardo and her lawyers had filed against Richard on July 23, 2009 was dismissed by the DOJ due to "lack of probable cause."
The March 1 Resolution dismissing the case was signed by former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera. She had resigned from her post in February to file her certificate of candidacy for congresswoman of Quezon Province.
Devanadera's resolution stated that complainant Lorayne Pardo "failed to establish" the elements of "reckless imprudence" on the part of respondent Richard Gutierrez. "We find no basis for the Provincial Prosecutor of Cavite to conclude that respondent was driving the vehicle at a 'mind-boggling speed,'" it asserted.
"WE EXPECTED IT." In an interview with Atty. Firdausi Abbas over the phone last June 7, the lawyer of Lorayne Pardo said he already expected the DOJ to deny their motion for reconsideration.
He said, however, that this would still not derail the case already ongoing in court.
This is because prior to the dismissal of former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, the case for "Reckless Imprudence Resulting in Homicide" was already filed before the Metropolitan Trial Court of Silang, Cavite. Thus, to implement the DOJ dismissal, the Prosecutors will have to withdraw the criminal Information from the Court.
Atty. Abbas said they are set to file a petition for review with the Court of Appeals (CA), and they are expecting "101 percent" that the CA will reverse the DOJ ruling.
Reiterating his previous argument, he stressed, "The Justice Secretary cannot dismiss a case already filed in court." (CLICK HERE to read related story)
Even with the present DOJ decision, Atty. Abbas said the Provincial Prosecutor of Cavite still cannot act on the DOJ order to withdraw the information from the court. "It is in the discretion of the judge if he will agree to the DOJ decision," stated Abbas.
Abbas cited the case of Crespo vs Mogul (G.R. No. L-53373 June 30, 1987), that said the decision of the judge in the trial court prevails over the decision of the DOJ.
(Abbas refers to the Crespo vs Mogul decision that states, "Once a complaint or information is filed in Court, any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already in Court, he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it.")
But at press time, there is no judge yet to make that decision since the previous judge of the case, Judge Victoria Cupin-Tesorero of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Silang, Cavite, had inhibited herself from proceeding further with the case.
Last May 31, the court of Silang, Cavite transferred the case files to the Regional Trial Court of Tagaytay City for re-raffling to a new Judge but no judge has been assigned to take over the case yet.
NO COMMENT. Richard Gutierrez's camp is quiet about these developments, but for a brief comment from his mother Annabelle Rama.
BGE-PAL, the law firm handling the actor's case, chooses to keep mum. The one-liner message it relayed to PEP managing editor Karen Pagsolingan last June 7: "PEP was able to reach us, but we choose not to issue any statement."
Yesterday, June 8, PEP solicited the reaction of Richard Gutierrez's mother and manager, Annabelle Rama, through PEP contributor Jojo Gabinete, who has her mobile number.
PEP sent the following text message: "Good afternoon po, Ma'am Annabelle. May artikulo po kami tungkol sa pag-deny ng DOJ ng Motion for Reconsideration, na isinumite ng kampo ng Pardo. Sana po makuha namin ang reaksiyon niyo tungkol dito. Salamat."
At 8:45 p.m. last night, June 8, Annabelle Rama called Gabinete and gave him her statement. "Nagpapasalamat ako sa Diyos dahil dininig niya ang dasal ko at araw-araw na pagtitirik ko ng kandila. Nagpapasalamat din ako sa DOJ," she said.