Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pangandaman-Dela Paz open to settlement

This is just so STUPID and just reinforces what I had said at the beginning, dapat pag-untugin na lang ang mga ulo ni Delfin at Mayor Nasser Jr.

In the Philippine Star today:

As charges filed, parties in golf brawl open to settlement
By Non Alquitran Updated January 06, 2009 12:00 AM

The camps of Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman Sr. and businessman Delfin de la Paz did not rule out yesterday an out-of-court settlement of the charges they filed against each other as a result of the brawl at a golf course in Antipolo City last Dec. 26.

But the problem is who would make the first move.

De la Paz’s lawyer Raymond Fortun and Ted Pastrana, counsel of Pangandaman, claimed that their clients are open to an amicable settlement, considering that the cases have not yet been formally filed in court.

Fortun claimed that aside from a text message purportedly coming from Pangandaman’s relative, they have not received any communication from the agrarian reform secretary’s camp to start negotiations for an out-of-court settlement.

Pastrana countered that it was his clients who are the aggrieved party and they would not wish to make the first move to patch up the petty quarrel with the De la Paz family.

De la Paz, 56, and his son Bino Lorenzo, 14, filed two counts of slight physical injuries and three counts of child abuse charges against Secretary Pangandaman’s sons Mayor Nasser Pangandaman Jr., 27, of Masiu, Lanao del Sur and his brother Muhammed Hussein before the Antipolo City prosecutor’s office at about 8:50 a.m.

De la Paz’s daughter and star witness Marie Dhel or Bambee, 18, accompanied the complainants.

Pastrana and the Pangandaman brothers appeared at the same prosecutor’s office two hours later to file physical injuries charges against De la Paz and Bino.

They also filed an additional grave coercion and light threats charge against Delfin, Bino, Bambee, and Bruce de la Paz, who arrived at the golf course armed with a baseball bat, and Mrs. Maridel de la Paz, who was armed with a bladed weapon.

The Pangandamans also brought along golf caddies Renato Legaspi, Ferdy de la Torre and Santos Estrera, who testified that the elder De la Paz started the fight.

The two camps assigned their respective lawyers to speak on their behalf regarding the case.

Fortun said the De la Paz family also plans to file administrative charges against the agrarian reform secretary and Mayor Pangandaman before the Ombudsman on Wednesday.

He said they would seek a preventive suspension against the two government officials.

In their complaint, De la Paz narrated that the mauling incident was triggered by the Pangandamans when they overtook their flight during a golf game at the Valley Golf and Country Club in Antipolo City.

Bino said the Pangandamans ganged up on him and his father, despite his and Bambee’s repeated pleadings.

The mauling incident happened at the tee house of the 5th hole and at the clubhouse.

Fortun said they would file an administrative complaint against the elder Pangandaman because he appeared to have uttered statements that inflamed his son in beating up his clients.

The Pangandamans, however, claimed that the elder De la Paz started the quarrel.

Caddies Legaspi, De la Torre and Estrera claimed the Pangandamans hired their services for two flights.

The first flight was composed of the elder Pangandaman, Rene Maglanque, Arnel Estacio and Faisal Abdulah, while in the second flight were Hussein, Nasser Jr., Farrah Locsin and Adnan Pacasum.

Legaspi is the caddy of Maglanque, De la Torre of Hussein and Estrera of Locsin.

Estrera said Nasser Jr. and Locsin arrived late and together with him and another caddy, Jaime Jocar Jr., they rode two golf carts to catch up with their flightmates.

Estrera admitted they overtook the De la Pazes in the process, which angered Delfin, who later confronted the Pangandamans.

Nasser Jr. said it appeared that the De la Pazes resented what “he wrongly perceived as overtaking.”

While Nasser Jr. was still outside the green of Hole No. 4, the flight of the De la Pazes hit their shots into the green without shouting “fore.”

To shield Angelo, Hussein’s eight-year-old son, from being hit by the balls, Nasser said his caddy took him behind one of the golf carts.

After they finished Hole No. 5, the Pangandamans joined their father’s flight at the tee house for snacks.

At this juncture, the elder De la Paz approached Nasser Jr. and once again shouted that what they did was wrong.

“To mollify him, I told him (Delfin) that we would not mind if their flight go ahead of us while we were still taking our snacks,” said Nasser Jr. in his affidavit.

Nasser Jr. said the elder De la Paz thrust his closed golf umbrella at his direction, prompting him to parry it with his elbow. And almost instantaneously, he punched the elder De la Paz in self-defense.

The three caddies corroborated Nasser Jr.’s statement that the umbrella incident started the fight.

The young mayor said Bino and Bambee rushed to aid their father.

Hussein came to Nasser Jr.’s side and grabbed the umbrella from the elder De la Paz, who punched him in the process. Hussein hit back and the two were soon engaged in a fistfight.

Nasser Jr. admitted that his brother got the upper hand and De la Paz fell down. Bino threw punches at Hussein’s face while Bambee crept up from behind and kept on wildly scratching his brother’s face.

“Bino then got a golf club which he used to hit me on the hand. I retaliated, punching him I think on the face,” said Nasser Jr.

He said it was Maglanque who intervened and broke up the fight.

While the situation had seemingly settled down, the elder Pangandaman decided it would be safer for their group to discontinue playing to prevent further untoward incident.

However, while at the clubhouse, they had a chance meeting with the De la Pazes and they quarreled again.

Mrs. De la Paz and her son Bruce, armed with a bladed weapon and a baseball bat respectively, arrived later but were prevented by the club’s security guard from joining the fight.

The De la Pazes submitted as evidence medical certificates issued by the Antipolo Community Hospital and the Manila East Medical Center and photocopies of Bino’s head and ear injuries.

The Pangandamans submitted photocopies of the police blotter, medical certificates from the Capitol Medical Center and East Avenue Medical Center of the injuries of Mayor Pangandaman.

Fortun said his clients are open for any out of court settlement of the case, as he pointed out that “money is not the prime issue here.”

“If their offer of an amicable settlement is sincere, then we would entertain them,” said Fortun, adding, “I do hope that cooler heads intervene to settle this case.”

Fortun said they would wait for the Pangandamans or their emissary to contact them.

He said he could not fathom how the elder Pangandaman could accuse his 56-year-old and 14-year-old clients of being the aggressors of the fight.

“Let them make the first move,” Fortun said.

Pastrana said his clients would welcome negotiations for an amicable settlement.

“It was established that the De la Pazes started the fisticuffs and we are the aggrieved party so we should not make the first move,” said Pastrana with regard to Fortun’s challenge.

“This incident was blown out of proportion, considering that my clients are public officials.”

The lawyer said his clients have been demonized because of the “black propaganda” waged by the De la Pazes, especially through blogs circulated on the Internet. “All of this happened obviously on the instigation of the elder De la Paz,” he said.

But one of the prosecutors in Antipolo City pointed out that it would now be difficult for both parties to arrive at an amicable settlement because of the Department of Justice Circular 59 of Sept. 9, 2002 involving child abuse cases.

The circular calls for the continuation of the cases in court even if the complainants submitted an affidavit of desistance.

“The physical injuries charges can be dropped easily but not the child abuse cases because of the DOJ circular,” the prosecutor told reporters.

With regard to Fortun’s plan of seeking the suspension of the elder Pangandaman and the Masiu mayor before the Ombudsman, Pastrana said the administrative case is unrelated to the brawl.

NBI invites Sec Pangandaman

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has invited Secretary Pangandaman and Nasser Jr., for questioning.

NBI-National Capital Region (NCR) Director Edward Villarta said they expect the Pangandamans to appear today to give a statement “to give their side of the story.”

He said no subpoena was sent but only a letter of invitation. A lawyer could accompany the Pangandamans.

Villarta said they have formed a fact-finding team composed of NCR agents to investigate allegations that the Pangandamans beat up the De la Pazes.

He said the De la Pazes have already submitted a statement to the NBI.

He said NBI agents have also interviewed witnesses, including the two caddies of the De la Pazes and four caddies of the Pangandamans.

The NBI agents also interviewed three waitresses and a manager of the clubhouse where the alleged mauling occurred.

The interviews with the witnesses were conducted last December at the clubhouse of the Valley Golf and Country Club in Antipolo City.

Meanwhile, MalacaƱang continued its defense of Secretary Pangandaman in connection with his involvement in te golf course altercation.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said that an investigation is already underway regarding the incident and that pending the results of this probe, Pangandaman would remain at his post.

Fajardo said Pangandaman has given his side of the incident, which refuted the allegations made by the De la Pazes.

“There’s an ongoing investigation at the Department of Justice regarding that and if I’m not mistaken, he was not included in the case filed by De la Paz this morning,” Fajardo said.

Fajardo said the executive branch would make a decision over Pangandaman’s case after the investigation is completed.

“I think it will be early as of now to grant that preventive suspension. Let’s wait for the result of the initial investigation before we can act on it,” she said.

Presidential Management Staff director general Cerge Remonde said that Pangandaman should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. – With Sandy Araneta, Marvin Sy

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