RTC Branch 42 disposes of 144 cases in 11 days
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Recently-arrived Presiding Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada quickly went to work last month, terminating a total of 144 cases over a period of just 11 days since her return.

Except for two cases involving Special Civil Action, most of the terminated cases consisted of one criminal case for rape that was decided on the merits and 126 others either dismissed, settled through a compromise agreement, decided on the accused’s plea of guilt, and others, Branch Clerk of Court Atty. Lino Gianan Jr. said.

Sixty of the terminated criminal cases involved statutory rape, or rape committed in violation of Republic Act 7610, in which minors were the victims, accounting for nearly half of the cases. Another 22 were for other violations of RA 7610 or the Special Protection of. Children Against child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act while eight (8) were for violations of RA 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004.

The other decided cases involved illegal drugs (11 cases); violation of forestry laws (6); illegal possession of firearms and ammunition (4); frustrated homicide, frustrated murder and RA 9287 (2 each); and, one each of illegal fishing, illegal possession of chainsaw, bouncing check, homicide, robbery, kidnapping, attempted rape, and frustrated intentional abortion.

Most of the accused in the terminated criminal cases were meted prison terms of various durations, Atty. Gianan disclosed.

Among those convicted was one Michael Manlangit who was accused of 23 counts of statutory rape. He was found guilty of one count of rape, for which he was sentenced to an indeterminate prison term ranging from six to eight years and to pay the victim P100,000 in damages. He was also found liable for violation of RA 7610 in all 23 cases, with each count carrying a penalty of imprisonment ranging from six months to four years and two months.

Also found guilty and ordered to pay P75,000 in damages to the minor victim was former provincial board member Jorge de Leon, who pleaded guilty to four counts of violation of RA 7610. For each count, he got a sentence of six months to one year, 11 months and 11 days in jail.

Judge Agbada also sentenced brothers Ariston and Joshua Torcelino to imprisonment for five separate cases of rape of a minor, with both also directed to pay P100,000 each in damages to the victim.

Ariston was meted six to eight years in jail in two of the cases, and six months to two years and four months in jail for the other three cases. For one count of child abuse, he got another six months to two years and four months behind bars.

His brother Joshua, aside from the payment of damages, was sentenced to six to eight years imprisonment.

The other statutory rape cases in the terminated criminal cases involved accused Ferdinand Panti (3 counts), Reynante delos Santos (3), Darwin Bombase (2), Michael Santelices (4), Joel Magdaraog (2 counts, aside from frustrated intentional abortion), Celso Tubiera (3), Gilbert Masagca (2), Adelmo Tupue (2), Zaldy Gurrobat (4), Argie Gurrobat (1) and Dioscoro Torrecampo (1).

The Branch Clerk of Court informed that civil cases were not taken up by the Court as it wanted to focus on criminal cases where most of the accused are being held in jail.

Judge Agbada went on leave last March 25, 2019 to undergo unspecified medical tests in a Metro Manila Hospital and will be back in Virac before the Holy Week.


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