Sep 012014
The prosecution panel in the homicide case against Coast Guard men implicated in the Balintang Channel shooting said they have proof that a Taiwanese fisherman was killed in the maritime incident last year.

In an opposition it filed with the Batanes Regional Trial Court, the Department of Justice asked the judge to junk for lack of merit a motion to quash earler filed by seven Coast Guard men accused in the case seeking the case’s dismissal.

In its motion to quash, the defense had insisted the case should be junked because no proof that homicide happened was ever presented by the prosecution in its complaint.

But the Department of Justice maintained that the coastguardsmen failed to point out an “evident defect or a glaring failure to allege an essential non-evidentiary fact” when it asked the court to dismiss the homicide case. The DOJ called the motion to quash ” frivolous, groundless and dilatory.”

“By selectively citing portion of Resolution dated December 20, 2013 and deliberately twisting their meaning and context, the counsel for the accused resorted to evidence aliunde [from outside, or not part of the original document] in assailing the information, which is prohibited,” said the prosecution.

In its motion to quash information, the defense said the complainant did not even attach a death certificate or an autopsy report to prove Hong’s death.

“The information does not charge an offense, since there is no one who was killed, i.e. there was no crime of homicide committed,” the defense added.

The defense camp that the only proof of the victim’s death was through sworn statements made by Dr. Rodolfo Sombillion, medico-legal expert of the National Bureau of Investigation, to whom Taiwanese officials showed a video and pictures of the autopsy on the fisherman. The defense insisted the physician’s statements are considered hearsay evidence.

The prosecution however said it never stated that it did not have proof of Hong’s death but merely said the original death certificate and autopsy reports were with Taiwanese authorities during the preliminary investigation.

“As of this writing, the autopsy reports (in Chinese and in English) with postmortem photographs and the death certificate (in Chinese and English) are now with the prosecution and ready to be marked for preliminary conference on Spetember 1, 2014 and pre-trial on October 6, 2014,” said the prosecution.

The prosecution asked that the motion to quash be dismissed and the accused be arraigned.

Taiwanese fisherman Hong Shish Cheng was killed during the May 9 incident at the Balintang Channel near the Luzon Strait when Coast Guard personnel sprayed bullets at his boat, claiming that the fisherman attempted to ram a Department of Agriculture-BFAR Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS-3001) vessel. — JDS, GMA News

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