Bullet allegedly found in 56-year-old OFW’s bag different from presented evidence
The bullet allegedly found in the luggage of Gloria Ortinez, the 56-year-old OFW who was arrested at the airport last week as she was supposed to leave for Hong Kong, was different from the evidence presented by authorities before the Pasay City Prosecutors Office.
In a ruling, Senior Assistant City Prosecutor Willy Chan said, "Based on the evidence presented, the undersigned notice [sic] that the attached photograph depicting one (1) ammunition for carbine rifle and the actual ammunition presented during the inquest proceedings allegedly seized from the respondent is distinctively different from one another, thereby causing reasonable doubt as to the identity of the subject ammunition."
Ortinez's lawyer, Spocky Farolan, showed the media a copy of the resolution during a press briefing on Tuesday.
Farolan said the difference in the sizes of the two bullets was notable enough for the Pasay Prosecutor's Office to reach a decision without calling for a munitions expert to identify the confiscated bullet.
"In the complaint, they didn't even identify... Wala, it's nothing here," he said.
The resolution resulted in Ortinez, who was arrested at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, being released from custody.
Ortinez underwent inquest proceedings after she was accused of violating Sec. 28 of Republic Act No. 10591 or the "Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act" by PO1 Rommel Ballesteros, SSO Eurica Galang, SSO Phil Anthony Abella, and SSO Rubilinda Rosal.
Held for 24 hours
Farolan said his client was unnecessarily held for 24 hours before she was brought in for inquest proceedings. He added that there must be animus posidendi, or the intent to posses, for a case to proceed.
"Dalawa po ang elemento: kailangan may possession, kailangan may ammunition... Yung sa ammunition, may problema na: piskal na mismo nagsabi," Farolan said.
"Pangalawa: possession. Sa ilalim po ng batas, at sa naging desisyon na rin po ng Supreme Court, sa del Rosario vs. People, kailangan po may animus posidendi... kinakailangan alam nung tao na siya mismo ay may dalang bala. Kung wala yung elemento na 'yun, wala yung elemento ng possession," he added.
Despite the favorable development, Farolan said the case placed Ortinez's contract of 13 years with her employer and her visa in danger.
"Kinabahan kami doon sa sitwasyon na baka wala nang balikang trabaho si Nanay Gloria," Farolan said.
While Ortinez and her employer, a single mother, and her employer's daughter were close, he said the attention generated by the case may dissuade her employer from extending her contract, visa, and working permit.
"Paano niya sasabihin na siya ay dapat bigyan ng working permit ng Hong Kong government kung, on official record, meron siyang pending na criminal case?" he said.
Ortinez was free to go back to Hong Kong, but limited resources and the preliminary investigation prevented her from returning to Hong Kong.
"Walang balakid para umalis si Nanay Gloria sa ngayon, pero paano ka aalis kung inaantay mo, ipapatawag ka ulit para magkaroon ng preliminary investigation?... Hindi lahat ng tao ay kaya na mamasahe balikan sa Hong Kong, kahit sabihin mo pang piso fare," Farolan said.
When asked if they would press counter-charges, Farolan answered that they would wait for the investigation to proceed before looking into a case.
"Katotohanan at katarungan ang hanap namin. Alamin muna natin ang katotohanan. Ayokong mag-bintang... We have never thrown any stone unnecessarily against any official of our airport administration," he said.
Moreover, they had not received CCTV footage from Laoag nor requests for their version of the events from investigating officers.
"Talagang 'di mo masasabi, baka may ibang involved," Farolan said. — KBK/DVM, GMA News