CA junks eight PCG members plea

The Court of Appeals denied the petition of eight Philippine Coast Guard personnel to set aside its decision 14 December 2021 which upheld the order of the Regional Trial Court of Manila meting them to 14 years in prison after they were found guilty of homicide involving a Taiwanese fisherman whose fishing vessel was at the Balintang Channel in Batanes in 2013.

In a three-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Ramon A. Cruz, the CA’s former Tenth Division held that the PCG officers failed to raise new arguments that would warrant the reversal of its December 2021 decision.

The accused-appellants — in their motion for reconsideration — insisted that the prosecution failed to establish that they were the ones who shot the victim and that their action was in fulfillment of a duty and lawful exercise of a right or office.

The petitioners argued that the prosecution also failed to establish that there was conspiracy among them to commit the crime.

To recall, in September 2019, Manila RTC Judge Eduardo Ramon Reyes found PCG Commander Arnold Enriquez de la Cruz, Seaman Second Class Nicky Reynold Aurello, Seaman First Class Edrando Quiapo Aguila, SN1 Mhelvin Aguilar Bendo II, SN1 Andy Gibb Golfo, SN1 Sunny Galang Masangkay, SN1 Henry Baco Solomon and Petty Officer 2 Richard Fernandez Corpuz guilty of homicide for the killing Taiwanese fisherman identified as Hong Shi Cheng in 2013.

They were also ordered to pay, jointly or severally the heirs of Hong the amount of P50,000 as civil indemnity and P50,000 as moral damages which the CA modified in its December 2021 decision by imposing a six percent interest per annum from the finality of the decision until fully paid.

The CA in affirming the trial court’s decision, gave weight to the extra-judicial confession of Bendo, Golfo and Solomon which narrated the events that transpired during the incident which caused the death of the victim.

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