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Transfer of PCG officers’ trial to Manila backed

By: - Reporter / @TarraINQ
/ 03:59 AM March 15, 2015

MANILA, Philippines—The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco) in Manila and the Department of Justice (DOJ) welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to move from Batanes to Manila the trial of eight Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) men tagged in the shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman at the Balintang Channel in 2013.

“We respect the decision of the Philippine Supreme Court,” Teco said in a brief statement.

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For the DOJ, the transfer would be practical and would save the state the expense of flying in witnesses from Taiwan to Batanes, and of transporting its team of prosecutors from Manila to the faraway court.

“It is welcome. Because even if we were able to smoothly present our witnesses [from Taiwan] in previous hearings, we cannot deny the costs that this entails,” said Assistant State Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera, who leads the DOJ panel.

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Airline fares alone could run up to the tens of thousands, he said.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court’s Second Division granted the request of the accused PCG to move the trial from Batanes to Manila, citing the “burdensome” costs of flying to the northern province for hearings.

Navera said the prosecution panel did not object to the PCG request.

In its resolution, the high court ordered the Basco Regional Trial Court to forward records of the case to the Manila Regional Trial Court for assignment to a new judge.

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TAGS: Balintang Channel, Batanes, Department of Justice, DoJ, PCG, Philippine Coast Guard, Supreme Court, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Taiwanese Fisherman, Teco
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