Monday, November 24, 2008


A series of write ups have been appearing in the internet making criminal imputations against former Asst. Prosecutor Asuncion Mandia, former Baguio City Police Chief Isagani Nerez and myself.
Judging from the pattern of the attack, the wrong doings ascribed to us and the frequency of publications it has become discernible that it is not consecrated to a lofty and reasonable purpose but simply to damage and destroy our reputation.
Worse, the writer has chosen to hide behind the cloak of anonymity so he could continue with his vicious character assassination with impunity and leave us wondering who he is and denying from us the relief of filing Libel cases against him.
A man’s name is to him the greatest. He is prepared to fight for it when it is put on the line.
Thus, I write this piece in defense against the unknown writer.
I will controvert his imputations point by point.
Wittingly or unwittingly, the anonymous writer in his quest to disparage me started one of his writings by saying that I represented many clients over the years and sent a number of foreigners to jail.
The readers will thus be left with the question “so how many foreigner clients of this lawyer are now languishing in jail?
As far as I could recall, I had handled the defense of only 2 foreigner clients. One is IU PO KWONG who was charged with DIRECT ASSAULT UPON A PERSON IN AUTHORITY and PHYSICAL INJURIES before the Municipal Trial Court of Natividad, Pangasinan. The cases against him were eventually dismissed.
The other is PASTOR RONALD E. POWELL who was charged before the Office of the Baguio City Prosecutor with six (6) crimes namely: RAPE, CARNAPPING, FALSIFICATION, ESTAFA, THREATS AND DEFAMATION. These cases were filed by the private complainant LAILANIE T. CALPITO.
PASTOR POWELL engaged my services to defend him in the aforestated six (6) criminal accusations. For his part, PASTOR POWELL also filed charges for ESTAFA, GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION, GRAVE THREATS, and LIBEL against the SPS. CALPITO.
PASTOR POWELL is the founder and pastor of the Faith Baptist Church in Loakan, Baguio City.
I prepared and filed an extensive Counter-Affidavit for PASTOR POWELL controverting all the charges filed against him. I stressed that all the charges were filed against him as a leverage to the cases he filed against the SPS. CALPITO.
In its RESOLUTION dated May 18, 2008 the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the charges of CARNAPPING, FALSIFICATION, ESTAFA, THREATS AND DEFAMATION in favor of my client POWELL.
The same office however, opined that from the detailed narration of the complainant of the outrageous act done to her by PASTOR POWELL there exists a probable cause to charge PASTOR POWELL of the crime of RAPE.
Thus, at the prosecution level, I won five (5) cases in favor of PASTOR POWELL.
In a nutshell, as may be culled from the records, the charge of rape against PASTOR POWELL can be given as follows:
“ The complainant Lailanie Calpito assisted by Elizabeth Ballitoc of the DSWD, filed a complaint for Rape against the respondent Pastor Ronald Eugene Powell (Powell for brevity) before the NBI on April 3, 2000.
Her narration follows:
She and her family used to live at the 2nd floor of an apartment in Loakan, Baguio City while the respondent lived at the basement of the same apartment. Her husband worked as an assistant Pastor to the respondent for the Faith Baptist Church and also served as his cook and at times driver. She on the other hand did the laundry for him (respondent).
On October 29, 1999 a Friday, the respondent sent her husband to preach in Guisad Road which was not his usual schedule, his usual schedule to preach being on Wednesdays. In the afternoon of the said date, the respondent requested her to cook his food which she did, afterwhich, she brought the food to the latter’s apartment. While she was there, Powell also requested her to change his beddings to which she also agreed because she did not have any inkling then that he would molest her considering that he is the pastor of their church and that he kept telling them that he is impotent and could no longer perform sex as he couldn’t get an erection.
At about 2:00 p.m. while she was fixing Powell’s beddings, Powell who was already naked attacked her and pushed her on top of his bed then he got a knife placed at the side of the bed and pointed it at the right side of her neck. While pointing the knife at her, he was kissing her on her lips and was acting strangely like a crazy dog. He was drooling like a dog and uttered the words: “I HAVE TO DO THIS BECAUSE I AM LONELY AND I REALLY MISS OLIVIA: I REALLY MISS OLIVIA THAT I AM READY AND WILLING TO DIE AND TO KILL: He then unbuttoned her pants, loosened the zipper and rolled down her pants, taking it off with the use of his toes. Still drooling like a mad dog, he mashed her vagina. She begged and cried and tried to push him but he was too heavy and strong. Thus, he succeeded in having carnal knowledge of her. After losing his erection, he got off on top of her and then placed his knife on top of the side table. She then dressed up and when she was about to leave, the respondent held her and tried to bribe her by telling her that he will give her P50,000 in exchange for her silence and for having sex with him in the future. She turned down his offer and when she was about to leave his room, he threatened to kill her and the members of her family if she reports the matter to her husband or to anyone. He also told her that he has lots of connection here in Baguio and that her family’s life costs only P10,000.00.
The respondent even followed her to their apartment and continued bribing her by telling her that if she accepts his offer, they will just perform oral sex in the future. She then cursed him and let him leave their apartment. Before he left, he again threatened to kill her and the members of her family if she reported the matter, hence, in the succeeding days, she had been closely watching her children as he might be serious in his threats. He continued to harass and threaten her after the incident.
She reported the matter only lately because she was afraid of Powell’s threats and she had the courage to report it only after she learned that she was pregnant and she strongly suspects that the father of the baby is the respondent.
On the complaint sheet signed by the complainant’s husband Ricardo Calpito, he accuses the respondent for Estafa and Falsification among others and made a narration of facts in Pilipino showing the following:
The respondent misled his church members when he told them that he is impotent and has no desire for sex by showing them fake papers allegedly issued by a Taiwanese Doctor. They found these to be false because he himself (Calpito) caught the respondent at one time having sexual intercourse with a Chinese woman whom he allowed to live in their church by misrepresenting that she is a cancer patient. This was followed by the act of the respondent in sexually molesting his wife on October 29, 1999 but which act he came to know only last February 2000 when his wife was so confused as to the paternity of the child she was conceiving. The respondent even placed them under surveillance by some policemen-friends of his present mistress until he made it appear that they are thieves which resulted to the issuance of a Search Warrant. He tried to destroy them by writing indecent notes to their landlord. He did not also give their salaries since December up to February when he terminated their services. The respondent likewise borrowed their taxi and hid it until they came to know that they already sold it.
It was on the basis of this narration that the Office of the City Prosecutor of Baguio found a probable cause to indict PASTOR POWELL of the crime of RAPE. The information was filed before the Regional Trial of Baguio City and was raffled before Branch 6 thereof.
The Information charging PASTOR POWELL with RAPE was signed by Asuncion F. Mandia, who was the Investigating Prosecutor and was approved by Erdolfo V. Balajadia, the City Prosecutor.
As soon as the charge of rape was filed and raffled before Branch 6 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, I immediately filed a MOTION TO SUSPEND PROCEEDINGS AND TO DEFER ISSUANCE OF WARRANT OF ARREST AGAINST PASTOR POWELL. I was poised to exhaust all available legal remedies to defend my client.
Acting on my motion, Judge Ruben Ayson, the Presiding Judge of RTC 6 issued an order dated May 25, 2000 pertinent portion of which reads:
In the afternoon of the same day of May 25, 2000, while the court was reviewing the documents attached to the Information for Rape, the counsel of the accused Ronald Powell, Atty. Abelardo Estrada, filed an Appearance with Urgent Motion to Suspend Proceedings and to Defer Issuance of Warrant of Arrest as they intend to file a Petition for Review of the Resolution of the City Prosecutor’s Office before the Department of Justice because they believe there is no probable cause for the crime of Rape against accused Ronald Powell. They cited the case of Roberts vs. CA, 254 SCRA 307, to defer the issuance of the Warrant of arrest and suspend the proceedings in court.
Thus, even before this Court could evaluate the complainant’s affidavit and that of her witnesses, and the respondent’s affidavit and that of his witnesses, and their documentary annexes, together with the Resolution of the investigating prosecutor for purposes of determining for itself whether probable cause exists to issue a warrant of arrest, the same was overtaken by the Motion of the counsel of the accused to defer the issuance of warrant of arrest and suspend proceedings. x x x
In any event, it would appear from the case of Roberts vs. CA, 254 SCRA 307, that the respondent Judge Asuncion before whom the Information was filed was directed by the Supreme Court to cease and desist from further proceeding in a certain criminal case and to defer the issuance of the warrant of arrest against the petitioners pending resolution of the petition for review with the Department of Justice.
It is best, therefore, to require first Trial Prosecutors Alfredo Centeno and Rolando Vergara to file their comment or opposition, if any, to the Motion to Defer Issuance of Warrant of Arrest and to Suspend Proceedings filed by the accused.
On May 31, 2000, I filed an extensive 17 page PETITION FOR REVIEW before the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE MANILA furnishing copy thereof to the RTC and the Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office.
In a subsequent order, Judge Ayson acted favorably on my Motion and ordered the suspension of hearings and issuance of warrant of arrest including the arraignment of PASTOR POWELL pending the PETITION FOR REVIEW I filed for PASTOR POWELL.
In September 2000, PASTOR POWELL communicated with me and informed me that considering the distance from Baguio to Manila where the PETITION FOR REVIEW was pending, it would be more economical for him to hire a new lawyer who is Manila based to represent him and for me to withdraw my appearance as his counsel from the Rape case. I did as advised and withdrew my appearance as his counsel before the Regional Trial Court of Baguio.
Thereafter, two Manila based lawyers namely: Atty. Alejandro Yrreverre, Jr. and Atty. Rolando B. Faller entered their appearance as counsel for the accused PASTOR POWELL before Judge Ruben C. Ayson of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City.
Since then, I lost track of the case. Had no idea how the Manila based lawyers handled the case. I found out later that the court issued a Warrant for the Arrest of PASTOR POWELL and hold departure order to prevent him from leaving the country.
One day, police officers came to me asking for the whereabouts of PASTOR POWELL. They got information from the court that I used to be the lawyer of the pastor. I told them that I have no idea of his whereabouts. The police officers informed me that a police colonel from La Union was murdered and that based on their investigation Pastor Powell was the mastermind. According to the police, a person very close to the Pastor revealed the information and damning evidence against Powell. I was told that the police was engaged in a manhunt against Powell. I did not tell the police information about Powell particularly those that I gained by virtue of our lawyer-client relationship. This includes the revelation made by Powell to me which could be his valid defense in the rape case. To this day, I hold such revelations sacred and never at any time will I reveal them because they are privileged communications according to the law.
Pastor Powell instead of facing trial to prove his innocence, fled and went into hiding and is now a fugitive from justice. The police is also after him for the murder of the police colonel. Reports have it that Powell used to reside in San Fernando, La Union, Isabela and lately in Angeles City.
In his article in the internet, the unknown writer said that I purposely kidnapped the religious worker. PASTOR POWELL was not kidnapped. As aforetold, he is in hiding. He fled to avoid his being arrested for the crime of rape now pending before RTC 6 of Baguio City. He is in hiding because he is a subject of a manhunt by the police for the murder of a police colonel in La Union.
In his articles published in the internet, the unknown writer identified himself as the foreign religious worker who was my client and who was charged with rape. He also mentioned that he filed a case of theft against his two helpers. He also said that he filed six cases against the helpers but were dismissed by then Asst. Pros. Asuncion F. Mandia. He also said that Col. Isagani Nerez advised him to drop the charges and if he does not do it they will file a case of rape against him. (RELIGIOUS WORKER). . . To quote the anonymous writer …
The religious worker laughed asking how could they prove as rape of such an ugly woman” … The religious worker is caught with his own tongue on how he downgrades his accuser. Imagine a man of righteousness and godliness having the temerity to describe the poor victim as ugly woman.” Is this a pastor like utterance?
Wittingly or unwittingly, from the series of articles he published in the internet disparaging then Asst. Pros. Mandia, Col. Nerez and myself, the unknown writer revealed who is. He could be PASTOR RONALD E. POWELL, the religious worker who is the accused in Criminal Case No. 17741-R of RTC 6 of Baguio City for Rape or any person claiming under him.
The unknown writer accuses me as an… “Attorney who mostly runs Baguio City.” He says that I control the entire police force of Baguio City. He said that I control Col. Isagani Nerez. He says that I control Pros. Asuncion Mandia and the entire Baguio City Prosecutor’s Office. He alleges that the entire Baguio City Police force, Col. Nerez, then Asst. Pros. Mandia and the entire Baguio City Prosecutor’s office all under my direct control conspired to have the case of rape filed against him.
I am an ordinary litigation lawyer. I do not control the police force of Baguio City. I did not control Col. Nerez. I did not control Asst. Pros. Mandia. I do not control the entire system of the Prosecutor’s office of Baguio City. Had this been true, my law firm could have not lost all cases that we handled. But that is not so. The records at the Regional Trial Courts and Municipal Courts reveal otherwise.
Yet, the unknown writer is saying Baguio City is in under my palm that I can manipulate the entire system all the time. The unknown writer must be hallucinating.
I have no power, capacity or means to subjugate the institution above mentioned as unfairly imputed to me.
The unknown writer stated that I knew who ordered and covered up the murder of the woman lawyer but I did not do anything.
The unknown writer is misleading the reading public. The records will show that my office condemned the senseless killing of our colleague. When the PAO office was reluctant in spearheading the prosecution of the accused who were arrested, my law firm upon being approached by the surviving husband of the victim, volunteered to prosecute the culprits pro bono (free of charge). The records of RTC 3 will show that the gunman had been convicted by the court. At present, the alleged look out is being tried before Branch 60 of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City. The prosecutor in the said case is still my law firm. The lawyers in my law firm braved all the dangers and threats on their lives brought about by their active participation in the said case considering its political complexion and the fact that the alleged persons behind are still not brought under the fold of the law. Why did not the unknown writer or the person acting under him publish this in the internet? Obviously, because their motive is to destroy not to inform.
The anonymous writer also says that I could have known who killed Atty. Victoria Sturch. I was one of the IBP lawyers who attended the promulgation of the decision of Judge Ayson when he found the accused guilty for the killing. It was a work related case.
The unknown writer would want to make it appear that I know everybody who killed or are behind the killing of any and all persons. One day, he will write that I know who ordered the killing of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. One day, he will write that I know who ordered the killing of John Lennon. And one day, he will write that I know who masterminded the killing of Ninoy Aquino Jr. or who masterminded the execution of Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal.
As aforetold, then Asst. Pros. Mandia dismissed the CARNAPPING, ESTAFA, FALSIFICATION, THREATS and DEFAMATION charges against PASTOR POWELL. But she found probable cause to indict PASTOR POWELL FOR RAPE.
She also dismissed the ESTAFA, LIBEL, GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION, THREATS and GRAVE ORAL DEFAMATION that PASTOR POWELL filed against the complainant in the Rape case LAILANIE CALPITO and her husband for lack of probable cause.
Because Asst. Pros. Mandia did not dismiss all the cases filed against Pastor Powell, because Asst. Pros. Mandia filed the Rape charge against him, and because Asst. Pros. Mandia dismissed the charges he filed against her accuser eight (8) years ago, the unknown writer or the person acting under Powell now imputes wrong doing against Mandia.
Pastor Powell now alleges that then Fiscal Mandia dismissed his complaints because she was paid $200 dollars by the thieves whom he (POWELL) accused of Theft. He now concocts a story that the husband of the fiscal wrote the story concocting the charges against him (Pastor Powell, the religious worker)
I will not dignify in this piece the other degrading imputations. People in Baguio City and San Fernando, La Union know they are not true. Then Asst. Pros. Mandia now a Judge is upright, fair and just. She is amiable, kind and soft spoken. Her record in the service is impeccable.
No person of the likes of Powell or his associate can put a good woman down. No amount of sordid, despicable or ignoble tales to be peddled heretofore by her detractor herein could diminish the trust the public reposes in her.

Col. Nerez is an officer and a gentleman. He is widely respected for his upright deportment both in uniform and in private life.

Just like Asst. Pros. Mandia, Col. Nerez became the butt of unfair accusations by the unknown writer. He was vilified outrageously.
I will not also dignify in this piece the baseless imputations made against him in the internet conceived by someone who can’t fight in the open but who will hide under the cover of impunity for selfish motives masquerading as emissary of good moral conduct.

You or the anonymous writer or the person claiming under you have bitterly maligned then Asst. Pros. Mandia, Col. Nerez and myself. If you are really true to yourself and if you really have evidence against us we ask you to come into the open and file charges against us. Do not hide under the cassock of anonymity or under the guise of a saintly person. IF YOU CANNOT, YOU BETTER SHUT UP. THE WORLD WILL NOT BELIEVE YOU.