By Jeffrey Damicog
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has begun hearing Friday (April 26) the motion of National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) lawyer Katherine Panguban over the transfer to Manila of her case concerning allegations she kidnapped a key witness in the 2018 Sagay City massacre.
The office of Assistant State Prosecutor Ferdinand Fernandez said he went to the Sagay City Prosecutor’s Office in Negros Oriental to hear the motion of Fernandez concerning the transfer of the complaint against her.
Acting Prosecutor General Richard Anthony Fadullon assigned Fernandez after the complaint was sought to be handled by the DOJ’s National Prosecution Service (NPS) in Manila.
The complaint was filed by the Sagay City Police before the Sagay City Prosecutor’s Office which accused Panguban of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for allegedly taking “Lester,” a survivor of the massacre.
On the night of Oct. 20, 2018, nine members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) were slain by still unidentified suspects inside Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
Police investigators said Lester is vital in identifying the suspects but has been taken by Panguban.
The NUPL had previously said that Lester was never kidnapped and that the case against Panguban was filed to force the boy to be turned over to police.
It said “Lorna,” the boy’s mother, had already publicly appeared to deny the claims of kidnapping committed by Panguban.
The NUPL said Lorna and Lester had been in custody of various non-government organizations since October 25 after the mother sought refuge.