MORE Power counsel clarifies issue on arrest warrant vs city dad despite settlement last March

PHOTO CAPTION: MORE Power legal counsel Atty. Allana Babayen-on (left) explains why the arrest warrant was still issued against City Councilor Carlos Javellana (right) and his wife, Loboc Punong Barangay Tracy Javellana, despite them already entering into a compromise agreement with the power distribution utility and paying some P179,000 as settlement./iNews (N. Glenn Aragon/Photo courtesy of Atty. Babayen-on’s Facebook page and Aksyon Radyo Iloilo)

ILOILO CITY–Iloilo City councilor Carlos “Jojo” Javellana must have been taken aback—to put it lightly—by the warrant of arrest served against him and his wife last September 28 relative to the case filed against them by MORE Power early this year. After all, much is at stake, not the least of which is the fact that he is running again for city legislator in next year’s elections and this legal entanglement could derail that.

But he must have also been flummoxed if only because he and his spouse, Punong Barangay Katrina “Tracy” Javellana of Loboc, Lapuz, had already settled their civil dispute with MORE Power more than six months ago—or on March 16 to be exact—to the tune of P179,000, so the warrant must have really come as a complete surprise.

To recall, the Javellana spouses were found to have been using an illegal connection to supply electricity to their water refilling station in Lapuz district in February this year. MORE Power subsequently filed a civil case against them in the same month.

But if this was already amicably settled, why were they still issued a warrant of arrest?

According to Atty. Allana Mae Babayen-on, legal counsel of MORE Power, as far as the distribution utility is concerned, the Javellanas’ record has been wiped clean of any dirt.

“I checked the records and sang March 16, 2021, naka-settle na sila sa aton sang civil aspect of the complaint, sang gin-file namun nga kaso sa City Prosecutors Office pa lang. And as agreed, because once ma-settle na ang civil liability naga-allow man ang management nga ipa-withdraw ang complaint, then we did that [I checked the records and, yes, they had already settled the civil aspect of the complaint, the one we filed with the City Prosecutors Office, on March 16, 2021. And as agreed, because once the civil liability is settled, (MORE Power) management allows the withdrawal of the complaint, which we did],” Babayen-on stated.

PROSECUTOR’S MANDATE

However, she continued, the settling of civil liabilities does not preclude the City Prosecutor from enforcing its own mandate, which is to determine probable cause or the guilt of the accused based on the evidence submitted.

“Ang situation lang galing with the prosecutor’s office is, may ara man na sila mandate to determine whether or not there is probable cause kon guilty o indi ang gina-akusar namun. So, in the middle (of it all), although we manifested nga i-withdraw na namun, I think nauna ang resolution ni prosecutor, kumbaga sa iya nga level na-determine nya na nga may probable cause na natabo gid man ang offense, so gin-resolve nya to file the information in court. Kumbaga, naulihi ang amon pag-withdraw sang case, and nagkadto sya sa court. So, once ara na sya sa court, nag-issue ang court sang warrant and we reiterated to the court nga this time naka-settle na kami sa civil liability with the accused and that we are requesting for the withdrawal of the information [The situation with the prosecutor’s office, however, is that they also have their own mandate to determine whether or not there is probable cause, if those we accused are guilty or not. So, in the middle (of it all), although we had already manifested our desire to withdraw, I think the resolution of the prosecutor came first, or on his level he determined there was probable cause that the offense as alleged had been committed, so he resolved to file the information in court. Our motion to withdraw came a bit late, and the case found its way to the court. So, once it reached the court, it issued a warrant and we reiterated to the court that we had come to a settlement of the civil liability with the accused and that we are already requesting for the withdrawal of the information],” Babayen-on explained, adding, “We do not control the City Prosecutor’s Office.”

As this developed, iNews learned that Javellana and his wife have already posted bail at P72,000 each for their temporary liberty. (N. Glenn Aragon/iNEWS)

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