During the proceedings at the DOJ main office in Manila, the panel handling the complaint refused to grant a request from the camp of suspect Ana Marie Mendoza, a former mayor of Sta. Teresita town in Batangas, to be given more time to file a counter-affidavit.
According to lawyer Norberto Malit, Mendoza’s legal counsel, their camp wanted an extension because they were not furnished with a copy of the complaint, which included charges of murder and illegal possession of firearms.
The DOJ panel thumbed down the request and instead submitted the case for resolution. Under the rules, the panel has at least 60 days or two months to come up with a resolution stating whether to dismiss the complaint or elevate it to the courts.
Apart from Mendoza, also implicated in the killing was her husband, Barangay Kalayaan chairman Hermogenes Mendoza, and several others.
Mendoza, with her face covered, arrived at the DOJ on board a white van and escorted by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of Batangas. Several supporters of the Mendoza couple also dropped by the DOJ to show their support to them.
Sandoval was on his way to a court hearing on June 13 when he was shot nine times by a suspect on a motorcycle. The incident happened along the national highway in Barangay Muzon in San Luis town, near the boundary of Sta. Teresita.
A follow-up operation led authorities to recover the motorcycle as well as a white Toyota Corolla (TDD 852) used as a “back-up car.” Police later traced the car to Mendoza. The motorcycle, meanwhile, was registered to Richard Arellano Briones of Barangay Kalayaan in Sta. Teresita.
Last week, police authorities—through a warrant issued by Judge Juanita Areta of the Taal Regional Trial Court Branch 86—searched the residences of the Mendoza couple in barangays Kalayaan and Bihis.
Seized from their houses were an 1 M-16 rifle, a 9mm Jericho pistol, a cal-30 carbine, a cal-45 Colt pistol, a cal-22 Llama pistol, and a cal-45 Mark IV pistol. — Mark Merueñas/KBK, GMA News