Almost two years have passed since Engr. Maurito Lim, a radio block-timer,Â known as “Chairman Mau”, was shot to death on February 14, 2015 and the prosecution has still to wrap-up its case with six of the listed nine prosecution witnesses waiting to be called to the witness stand.
Lim was killed in cold blood by an alleged lone assailant on Valentine’s Day while sitting inside his maroon colored IsuzuÂ Crosswind vehicle a few meters from radio station DYRD along B. Inting St. before his 11AM radio program “Chairman Mau on Board Banat”Â which he co-hosted with former OIC Governor Atty. Victor Dela Serna.
Lim died from a bullet that pierced his head a few hours later at the Governor Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital (GCGMH) leaving behind his wife, two daughters, and grandchildren.
Jovani Orenia, theÂ lone suspect in the Lim murder was arrested by police officers during a drug buy-bust operation on March 6, 2015 and is now detained at the City of Tagbilaran Rehabilitation Center (CTRC) in Barangay Cabawan this city.
OreniaÂ pleaded not guilty for murder before Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 2Â Presiding JudgeÂ Chavez-Marcos on August 17, 2015Â and insistedÂ that theÂ buy bustÂ operation leading to his arrest “did not actually happen and he was merely a victim of frame-up as a way of solving another crime where he was the primary suspect”.
Orenia also claimed that he was nowhere in the vicinity during the incident and he was previously arrested for violation of section 5 and 11 of Republic Act 9165 before the case of murder was filed against him.
The firearm allegedly seized from him during the alleged buy-bust operation is not the same murder weapon that was used in the shooting of Lim, according to Orenia.
Orenia is also facing criminal charges before the Special Drugs Court under RTC of Bohol, Branch 4 Presiding Judge Sisinio C. Virtudazo for violation of Section 5 and 11, Article ll of RA 9165 known as the “Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002”.Â
MATTERS IN QUESTION
The court will resolve the factual issue ifÂ OreniaÂ shotÂ Engr. Lim using a caliber .45 firearm and the legal issue if the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder.
Since the arraignment ofÂ OreniaÂ on August 17, 2015, theÂ trialÂ has been postponed four times – twice by the prosecutor for medical reasons and twice by the defense counsel for important family occasions.
The prosecution’s witnesses include a security guard, six police officers, the victim’s wife and a pathologist while the defense will also present four witnesses.
All the witnesses were not present when the shooting of Lim occurred except prosecution witness, Violyfer Casimsiman, the security guard on duty at radio station DYRD.
Casimsiman was assigned as aÂ security guard at DYRD by his employer, BISDA Security Agency and was on duty on February 13, 2015, at 8 PM until 8 PM February 14, 2015. Lim was killed at 11 AMÂ on Valentine’s Day.Â Â
According to the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) obtained by theÂ Chronicle, Casimsiman, was called to the witness stand onÂ August 2, 2016, and September 6, 2016 to prove that he was in the vicinity of the crime on February 14, 2015 when Lim was shot and had a chance to witness, observe and identify the accused.Â
Casimsiman claimed he personally witnessed the accused “in the act of putting a gun at his right waist.” after he went out of the gate of DYRD to check the source of the sound of a gunshot.
But Casimsiman, under cross-examination by defense counsel categorically admitted that he did not personally see OreniaÂ shoot Lim.
According to Casimsiman he identifiedÂ OreniaÂ from a police rogue gallery picture no. 14 on February 19, 2015, six days after the killing took place at the Tagbilaran City Police Station.
The sole witness told the court that he recognized the face of Orenia as shown in the rogue gallery as similar to the face of the person who was standing near the car of Lim shortly after the shooting.
Casimsiman further testified that he saw a person on a Honda XRM “wearing a white ball cap, brown short pants, and light blue sweatshirt with his face partly covered with a cloth, colored light blue, only his eyes and nose can be seen.”
The person driving the motorcycle, according to Casimsiman, made a u-turn and parked at the back of Lim’s vehicle.
On direct examination by Prosecutor Cheryl Baquial-Gamas, the witness said that the accused turned his head twice towards him with the cloth partly covering his face “was lowered” before boarding his motorcycle.
On cross-examination, defense counsel Atty. Carlo Carandang elicited from Casimsiman that on two occasions after the shooting it took him a maximum of six seconds to view the uncovered face of Orenia.
The court also established that Casimsiman was ten meters from the accused the first time he saw his face and “even farther away” the second time.
Casimsiman also answered in the affirmative that when the accused made a u-turn before the shooting, his face was veiled with a cloth but after Lim was gunned down, the cloth covering his face was already pulled down and even turned his face twice towards the witness.
Two prosecution witnesses, Police Officer 1 Jeus Francis Monton testified on October 11, 2016 while Senior Police Officer ll Florentino DiolaÂ will continue his testimony on February 28, 2017.Â (Chito M. Visarra)Â