A Facebook page offering monetary compensation for information leading to the capture of the killers of Atty. Manuelita “Mia” Mascariñas Green and alleged “antagonistic stance” of the police raised fears for the safety of Lloyd Lancer Gonzaga, one of the two prime suspects in the cold-blooded murder of Atty. Manuelita “Mia” Mascariñas Green.
Gonzaga, has petitioned the Supreme Court for transfer of venue for the trial of all his criminal cases in the regional trial courts in Tagbilaran City and his detention at the Bohol District Jail fearful for his life and family, a “miscarriage of justice” and the alleged stalking of police officers on the movements of his family.
The 17-page petition prayed for the transfer of all criminal cases to any RTC branch in Quezon City and sought for the transfer of Gonzaga’s detention to Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City.
The petition filed before the High Court remains unacted and was viewed by Atty. Mia’s private counsels as a “stark display of disrespect and calumny towards the Honorable Courts hearing his criminal cases.”
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Leopoldo Gonzaga, the father of Lloyd, spoke about his alarm over a Facebook page “Onemillionparanimia” offering monetary compensation for any information leading to the capture of Atty. Mia’s alleged killers.
The Facebook page has attracted more than 3000 likes after pictures of Lloyd, his wife, and her mother appeared on the website, according to Lloyd’s father.
But Atty. Mia’s counsels responded to Gonzaga’s claims of apparent security risks to his family as an implied accusation towards Boholanos as violent who are known as peace-loving and are still a firm believer in the fairness of our legal system.
Talking about lives at risk, the private prosecutors believed “it could only be their lives who are at risk in their pursuit to prosecute the accused in the brutal murder of their colleague.”
The father of Gonzaga, in an affidavit attached to the petition for transfer of venue and detention, alleged a pattern of antagonism shown by police officers toward their convoy manning check-points in Jagna, Garcia Hernandez, Valencia, Lila, Loay and Tagbilaran City on July 14, 2017.
Gonzaga’s group was on their way to Tagbilaran City via Jagna from Butuan City to serve a copy to the Office of the City Prosecutor of the petition for review filed with the Office of the Secretary of Justice.
The elder Gonzaga even implicated the chief of police of Jagna and Valencia for subjecting their group with search, scrutiny, questions, photographed and held up for almost half an hour.
The police claimed that these were all “orders from above” and were prevented from lodging their complaints in the police blotter, according to Gonzaga.
The private counsels of Atty. Mia belied the self-serving allegations of the elder Gonzaga citing the random checks of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as part of the preemptive legitimate operation of the Bohol police to avert possible infiltration of Abu Sayyaf or Maute Group members in the province.
Bohol was still reeling from a traumatic experience of ten Abu Sayyaf members that slipped into the town of Inabanga and sowed fear and terror among the Boholanos for more than a month before they were all killed in a running gun-battle by the military and police.
The military suffered four casualties – three killed and one wounded while a lone police officer was slain during the initial encounter.
An 11-page comment and objection to the petition for transfer of venue and detention by Gonzaga was filed on October 5, 2017 by Atty. Mia’s counsels bared the legal scheme of the accused just to avoid facing trial and making up stories portraying Bohol as an unsafe place for him and his family.
They also branded as unfair and demeaning the speculations of Gonzaga that his trial will be smeared with utmost impartiality and disinterestedness because of Atty. Mia’s active membership of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – Bohol Chapter.
The private counsels also belied the allegations of Gonzaga that his life inside the Tagbilaran City jail is at risk stressing that the city jail has no history of a detention prisoner being maltreated nor threatened.
The transfer of venue as appealed by Gonzaga will entail a logistical nightmare for all those involved in the case, according to the private counsels.
Gonzaga, one of the prime suspects in the brutal murder of Atty. Mia on February 15, 2017 was nabbed by combined elements of the Criminal Detection and Investigation Group (CIDG) and the Police in Barangay 23-C, Juan Luna St., Davao City on June 30, 2017 after a massive four-month police manhunt.
Gonzaga together with Romarico Benegi-an, who is still at large was tagged by two eyewitnesses as the triggermen of Atty. Mia who was mercilessly gunned down in front of her three kids and their nanny. Two other unidentified persons who acted as look-outs and drivers of the getaway vehicle are still being hunted by police authorities.
Gonzaga and Benigi-an claimed they were nowhere at the scene of the crime.
According to police investigators, the killing was triggered by a property dispute over the 38 room Alona Embrace Hotel standing on a piece of 1,858 sq.m. prime property located in Barangay Tawala, Panglao.
Atty. Mia was the counsel of Gonzaga’s mother-in-law, Conrada Gubalani Otero Blomqvist who was embroiled in the property squabble. (Chito M.. Visarra)