Opinion > Guiangster
From fear to cheer

Written by Ilocos Sentinel posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2013

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On Thursday, June 6, lawmen including jail officers heaved a sigh of relief. Thanks God, no untoward incident occurred in transporting the four Chinese nationals from their detention cell at Ilocos Norte provincial jail in Laoag City to Regional Trial Court,, Branch 19 being presided by Executive Judge Rosemarie Ramos in Bangui, Ilocos Norte.
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The four were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives after they were nabbed in a police checkpoint in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte last May 28. The unlicensed guns seized from the four are sophisticated and high-powered weapons prompting local authorities to surmise that the suspects might have engaged in illegal activities.
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Fear, that the four foreigners might be snatched, ambushed and killed by bad elements while in transit, had surfaced days before their scheduled arraignment at RTC in Bangui on June 6. No less than OIC provincial jail warden Dario Estavillo expressed fear on the safety of the four noting that the travel time from Laoag to Bangui is barely one hour.
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Truly, any untoward incident could happened on the highways. The warden appeared cautious but his motion to change venue of the arraignment from Bangui to Laoag would not be that easy. RTC has no jurisdiction to change the venue. It is said that only Supreme Court could give the order. On that Thursday morning of June 6, it was a tense long journey (back and forth) for the convoy that transported the four Chinese nationals under heavy guards. I repeat, thanks God as fear turned into cheer. When back to their detention cells at INPJ, the suspects emerged unharmed with souls and bones intact.
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For lack of interpreter who knows how to speak Chinese mandarin, RTC Judge Rosemarie Ramos reset the arraignment of the four suspects to another date to answer the indictment. Language barrier could delay court proceedings. Judge Ramos, for sure, doesn’t want to dillydally on this sensitive case. Any trial lawyer or litigant who had appeared in her courtroom knows that the lady magistrate advocates speedy trial in the dispensation of justice.
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The suspects’ defense lawyer, therefore, should be resourceful. At the very start, he should have tapped the services of a private interpreter who will translate English into Chinese mandarin and vice versa for oral arguments and for record purposes during the arraignment. Perhaps, the Chinese community in Laoag, particularly the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce local chapter could send one of its member to serve as interpreter as the court litigates and resolves the case of these four Chinese nationals.#(JUN R. GUIANG)

 

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