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SC orders transfer to Manila of trial of 2 Mindoro cops in NGO leader's murder

The Supreme Court in Manila: orders transfer to Manila of trial of policemen who shot dead anti-crime leader in Oriental Mindoro. INTERAKSYON.COM FILE
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - The Supreme Court has ordered the transfer of venue in the trial of two policemen accused in the extrajudicial killing of Mindoro NGO leader Zenaida Montejo Luz.

In a resolution, the SC granted the petition to transfer hearings on the case from Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro to the Manila Regional Trial Court. The SC directed the Manila RTC's executive judge to raffle the case.

The court also ordered the re-docketing of the special civil action into an administrative case, but granted the request for transfer of venue of trial in the referenced cases from Mindoro to Manila.

Police in Mindoro earlier filed murder charges against Senior Insp. Magdaleno Pimentel Jr. and Insp. Markson Almenarez, who were arrested by responding police units shortly after they gunned down Luz, the local head of the watchdog Crimewatch.

The riding-in-tandem assassins were in civilian clothes, and wore bonnets and masks to disguise their identities, but the police who responded to the crime scene shot at them, wounding them and unmasking them.

The SC, meanwhile, ordered the petitioners to submit to the Department of Justice a formal request for inclusion in the Witness Protection Program, instead of writing the Supreme Court.

Petitioner/witness Edward Christopher Luz and his co-witness had earlier sought inclusion in the WPP.

The family of Luz filed last Dec. 21, 2016 a petition for prohibition and mandamus with application for injunctive writs.

They had also asked that the suspects be moved from their detention cell in Mindoro to the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila or Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.