The violence against women and children (VAWC) case of Agusan del Norte Rep. Erlpe John Amante and Cabadbaran City Mayor Katrina Mortola is now under speedy trial and no postponement rule, including a must no absent for respondents and complainant who must attend religiously the already scheduled hearings.
During arraignment and first preliminary hearing on Tuesdsay (Nov. 14) at the Regional Trial Court Branch 34 in Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte presided by Judge Fernando Fudalan that lasted more than one hour, the court ordered and informed all parties present that subsequent hearings will already be under speedy trial and no postponement rule as only emergency causes in seeking postponement will be allowed but with scrutiny why filing such postponement.
There were no objections from lawyers of both parties about the speedy trial ruling and both vowed they would cooperate with the court.
New counsel of the complainant, Mrs. Judy Chin Amante was celebrated women’s rights lawyer, Atty. Lorna Kapunan.
Kapunan explained during press conference that Mrs. Amante approached her since last year, seeking help in the cases she filed against her husband and alleged paramour, saying their children were most affected after their father, Rep. Amante allegedly left them sometime in 2010.
Being a women’s rights advocate, Kapunan said she was emotionally affected of what Mrs. Amante told her, after reading the former’s affidavit and that of her children.
“I took pity of Mrs. Amante, I don’t know here, it was the first time I meet her but I accepted the challenge despite facing influential politicians,” Kapunan told reporters .
On January 2016, Judy Chin filed concubinage and VAWC case against Mortola and her estranged husband before Cabadbaran City Prosecutor’s Office.
But then Prosecutor Manuel Tesiorna dismissed the concubinage case against them due lack of evidence that the two are cohabiting under one roof.
In their reply affidavits, the lawmaker and Mortola also denied the charges.
But Mrs. Amante and witnesses who issued their affidavits alleged that Rep. Amante and then candidate for mayor, Katrina Mortola, who run under Nationalista Party and local party Kusog Agusanon during May 2016 campaign were seen always together like couple in public and openly campaigning, sweet with each other.
Rep. Amante admitted he has filed separation and annulment of marriage with his estrange wife, Judy Chin. The couple has three children already grown up now due their marriage.
Mrs. Amante appealed the decision, saying two personal eyewitnesses, one of them the daughter of Rep. Amante herself and a house help who personally saw Mortola and Amante allegedly living together as a couple. By Ben Serrano