Suspended Police Supt. Maria Cristina Nobleza and suspected Abu Sayyaf Group bomber Renierlo Dongon on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to obstruction of justice charges filed against them for allegedly attempting to rescue ASG stragglers who were being hunted down by government troops in Bohol from April to May.
Both suspects attended their scheduled arraignment before the Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC) in Tubigon while Dongon also pleaded not guilty to a separate case filed for violating Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines or resistance and disobedience to a person in authority.
Nobleza and husband Dongon were arrested at a military checkpoint in Bacani, Clarin on April 22 as they allegedly tried to rescue the ASG fighters who survived the initial clash between the band of militants and government security forces in Inabanga two weeks prior.
According to Sr. Insp. Fernando Peroramas, Clarin police chief, the suspects did not bring their own lawyer and were represented by Atty. Steven Lim of the Public Attorney’s Office instead.
After pleading not guilty, the suspects’ camp also filed a motion for bail.
However, the court has not yet ruled to whether it will hear the petition for bail.
Both Nobleza and Dongon refused to talk to media in an ambush interview prior to the arraignment.
Meanwhile, stringent security measures were implemented at the Hall of Justice in Tubigon while the arraignment was ongoing.
Nobleza and Dongong arrived at the Tagbilaran City airport at 8:55 a.m. and immediately proceeded to Tubigon.
They had previously requested for the cancellation and postponement of the arraignment but this was not granted by the court. (Allen Doydora)