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CA upholds arrest of 8 Navy men in Pestaño death case

The Court of Appeals (CA) has affirmed the arrest warrants issued by the Manila City regional trial court (RTC) against eight Philippine Navy personnel who were charged with the 1995 murder of Ensign Philip Pestaño.

Court of Appeals

Court of Appeals

In a resolution written by Associate Justice Nina Antonio-Valenzuela, the CA found no reason to reverse its April 29, 2016 decision.

“As we stated in the decision of April 29, 2016, the respondent judge based her finding of probable cause and issued the corresponding warrants of arrest after personally examining the records of the case,” the ruling stated.

Those who challenged their warrants of arrest before the CA were:

  • retired Navy Capt. Ricardo Ordoñez
  • Cmdr. Reynaldo Lopez
  • Lt. Cmdr. Luidegar Casis
  • Lt. Cmdr. Alfrederick Alba
  • Lt. Cmdr. Joselito Colico
  • Hospital Man 2 Welmenio Aquino
  • Machinery Repairman 1st class Sandy Miranda
  • Petty Officer 2nd Class Mil Leonor Igcasan.

Retired PO1 Carlito Amoroso and retired Lt. Cmdr. Ruben Roque, who were among the accused in the murder of Pestaño, did not elevate the arrest issue before the CA.

Earlier, the CA had affirmed its decision to allow the Manila RTC to proceed with the trial of the murder case; it also had directed the transfer of the accused navy officers to the Manila City jail in compliance with the law that allows civilian jurisdiction of certain offenses committed by military personnel.

Pestaño was found dead with a single gunshot wound on his right temple and a purported suicide note to his family inside his cabin at the Navy cargo ship BRP Bacolod City before it reached Manila. The vessel left Tawi-Tawi on September 20, 1995.

Investigations conducted by the Senate and the AFP ruled out the suicide angle in Pestano’s death.