The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 7 of Batangas City has cleared two policemen and three others of murdering TSgt. Allan Apolinar on October 10, 2011, in Sitio Tagkawayan, Barangay Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City.
The accused who were identified as Dione “Jhonie” Adelion, alias “Teng”, SPO1 Benito Dela Peña, PO1 Jayson Cabrestante, Elmer Esparago, and Teddy Padios, were acquitted through a decision handed down by Batangas RTC Branch 7 Presiding Judge Aida Carrera Santos who granted a Demurrer to Evidence filed by Adelion, Esparago and Dela Peña through their respective counsels.
The case was initially heard at the Palawan RTC Branch 52 under Judge Angelo Arizala, but the victim’s wife requested that it be transferred, which the Supreme Court partially granted and relocated the case to the Batangas RTC in September 2019.
“Ang sabi (ng asawa) ni Apolinar, the victim, ay natatakot daw yung kanilang witnesses so inilipat ang kaso sa Batangas, where it was heard by Judge Aida Carrera Santos,” Atty. Allan Carlos, who represented Dela Peña in the case, said.
Carlos explained that during the course of the trial, he found inconsistencies in the testimonies of Marvin Aguhayun who stood as star witness for the prosecution.
“His statements at the witness stand changes every time he appears at the hearings,” Carlos said.
Furthermore, he said Aguhayon’s testimonies were also inconsistent with his sworn affidavit executed before a prosecutor in Puerto Princesa.
Carlos explained that due to the inconsistencies, he no longer felt it was necessary to present evidence and witnesses for the defense side.
He stated that the evidence he had at the time included ballistic reports on slugs recovered from the victim’s body that did not match Dela Peña’s rifle, as well as paraffin tests on his hand and the other officer’s hand that revealed no powder burns.
“Ibig sabihin, parehong hindi nagpaputok ng baril yung dalawang pulis,” he said
Instead, he said, he filed a motion to dismiss on Demurrer to Evidence based on Aguhayon’s inconsistent testimonies during hearings and his sworn affidavit.
In the 15-page order dated October 28, 2022, signed by Judge Santos, the Demurrer to Evidence filed by the three accused – Adelion, Esparago, and Dela Peña – was granted, which also rendered the case dismissed, and the suspects acquitted of the crime of murder. Cabrestante who did not file a separate demurrer was likewise acquitted for lack of evidence against him.
Adelion, however, remains under custody of Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm where he is currently incarcerated for another case.