Pilot ‘tele-hearing’ successful – SC

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    THE judicial system’s first video-conference trial at the Davao City Regional Trial Court proceeded on Monday without a glitch, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said.

    Marquez said “all the parties in the case were satisfied” in the proceeding that was pilot-tested in the sala of Davao City RTC Executive Judge Emmanuel Carpio.

    “Natuloy kanina ang hearing, it was a successful hearing. There were no glitches and from the information I received, all the parties were satisfied with the proceeding,” Marquez said in a phone interview

    The video-conference trial, or ‘tele-hearing’ will be on pilot-test run at the Davao City RTC for at least two years.

    Marquez said the inmates were assisted by lawyers from the Public Attorney’s Office during the entire time of the proceedings.

    Carpio’s sala has been fitted with television monitors, speakers and high definition cameras, and linked by radio frequency through the towers put up at the Hall of Justice and the Davao City Jail for the ‘tele-hearing.’

    The Supreme Court approved the guidelines for the initial implementation of the system last June 29.

    The court recognized the usefulness of holding video-conference trials to enable high-risk suspects to testify and be cross-examined without leaving their detention cells.

    The system seeks to “guarantee and preserve the constitutional rights of the accused in court proceedings who are persons deprived of liberty being detained in a district, city or provincial jail or a nationwide inmate committed in a national penitentiary.”

    The SC said the “tele-hearings” are designed to “eliminate the safety, security and health risks posed by the personal appearance” of the detainee who are considered high-risk or are afflicted with a serious illness.

    The “tele-hearing” at Carpio’s sala involves two criminal cases – one for frustrated murder and for multiple attempted murder involving two suspected NPA members, one of whom is the son of slain NPA commander Leoncio Pitao alias “Kumander Parago“.

    The first case for frustrated murder charge was filed in 2013 against Romart Mandi Uy who has been detained in the Davao City jail.

    Uy was accused of stabbing several times Bryan Villanil on July 27, 2013.

    The second case for multiple attempted murder, which was filed in 2014, involves two suspected NPA members – Ryan Pitao alias “Ka Ryan” and Aquilino Gonzales alias “Banakon” and three still unidentified co-accused.