The publication of an alleged “mug shot” in a local paper (not the Chronicle) of one of the accused in a graft case caught the public by surprise even as the accused expressed consternation over the motive of the printing of his picture despite the absence of a warrant of arrest.
A picture of 1st District Congressman Rene Relampagos was printed in a local daily showing his obese face with a surprise look that was included in pictures showing an alleged photocopy of the photos of Governor Edgar Chatto and Vice Governor Concepcion Lim that was part of their bail documents.
The voracious voyeuristic appetite of the public fueled by rumors fanned by detractors of Governor Edgar Chatto, 1st District Congressman Rene Relampagos and Vice Governor Concepcion Lim over their much anticipated arrests and subsequent taking of their “mugshots” were partially satiated after the much delayed photos appeared in the local papers.
Hazy pictures of Governor Edgar Chatto and Vice Governor Concepcion Lim were plastered on the front pages of the local paper showing the front, left and right side of their faces.
But a clear photo of Relampagos was included despite the fact that no warrant of arrest was issued against him while it was captioned “technically at large. Family reportedly in the US”.
Relampagos laughed off the obvious intention to embarrass him saying “perhaps they were referring to my physical size which is extra large”.
Amused by the motive of those responsible for the publication of the so called mug shots, Relampagos told DYRD “Inyong Alagad” that he went to the United States on official business with his wife and not with his family as printed in the paper.
“I attended a conference on tourism as chair of the committee on tourism of Congress”, said Relampagos.
Atty. Lord “Popot” Marapao, IV, legal spokesman for both Chatto and Relampagos and a member of Relampagos legal team also told DYRD “Inyong Alagad” that “he is not on the run and cannot be considered “at large” since there is no warrant for his arrest and he was not arrested”.
Marapao maintained that “there is no need to flee because the case is bailable and he ready to face the charges because he knows he is innocent”.
In the case of the mug shots, Marapao explained that “these are only required by suspects or accused who are about to be detained.
Marapao pointed out that the photo of Relampagos was chosen to embarrass and mislead and does not conform to the requirements of pictures for the posting of bail”.
Under Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 12-94 photographs (passport size) taken recently showing the face, left and right profiles of the accused must be attached to the original papers.
According to the PNP Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Booking of arrested suspects shall include among others the taking of photographs or mug shots and tenprints.
These pictures shall form part of the police collection of mug shots, pictures and photographs of criminal and suspects kept for identification purposes.
Anticipating the issuance of warrants of arrest by the Sandiganbayan, Chatto and Lim filed their Php30 thousand bail bonds on October 29, 2015 at the Regional Trial Court Branch 49 on October 29, 2015.
Relampagos refrained from posting bail after he filed a 31 page omnibus motion with the Sandiganbayan 1st Division to withhold the issuance of the warrant for his arrest or the immediate recall if one has been issued.
The anti-graft court 1st Division gave due course to Relampagos omnibus motion to “dismiss based on lack of probable cause and/or to quash the information for violation of accused’s right to speedy disposition of cases”.
The Sandiganbayan gave plaintiffs fifteen days to submit their reply and for the accused ten days to file their counter affidavit. (Chito M. Visarra)