THE camp of Dumanjug Mayor Efren Guntrano “Gungun” Gica has questioned the issuance of a warrant of arrest against him on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, over a graft and corruption charge.
Gica’s father, lawyer Edgar Gica, filed a four-page urgent ex-parte motion dated Jan. 7, before the Regional Court Trial Branch 59 in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
Lawyer Gica provided SunStar Cebu with a copy of the ex-parte motion.
In his motion, the mayor’s father questioned the issuance of an arrest warrant against his son when RTC Branch 59, presided by Judge Reginald Fuentebella, was not the “court of proper venue” to handle his son’s case.
Lawyer Gica is also invoking his son’s right to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him and demanded from RTC Branch 59 a copy of the information and supporting documentary evidence which prompted the court to issue an arrest warrant.
The mayor’s father claimed that upon hearing the court had issued an arrest warrant on Nov. 12, 2019, he sent a staff member to the court on Jan. 3 to secure certified copies of the case’s information and supporting documents.
But lawyer Gica claimed that personnel of RTC Branch 59 denied their request for copies of the information and supporting documents.
Three days later, lawyer Gica said he also sent a staff member to the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas in Cebu City to obtain a copy of his son’s case information but failed to get it after the anti-graft office also reportedly refused to give them the documents.
“Still accused was not able to secure a copy thereof and was given a run-around treatment by the personnel of the said anti-graft body that they have to clear the matter of giving copies of the Information with the Ombudsman Office in Quezon City and that, accused (Gica) can obtain a copy of the Information from the court. Hence, there is an obvious design to embarass the accused municipal elected official,” the older Gica said in his motion.
Separately, Marna Gica, the mayor’s mother, denied allegations made by the police that her son was arrested before he was able to post bail last Wednesday.
Marna told SunStar Cebu that her son surrendered to the RTC in Barili town, Cebu to post bail after receiving the warrant.
“There is a big difference in the terms ‘arrested’ and ‘surrendered,’” she said.
The mayor’s mother is also seeking an apology from local police who told the media that her son had been arrested.
Last Wednesday, local police in Dumanjug presented an arrest warrant against Gica following a complaint filed by his rival, former Dumanjug mayor Nelson Garcia.
Garcia filed a graft charge against Gica for hiring famous Filipino singer Bamboo Mañalac for their annual fiesta without undertaking a bidding in 2015.
Gica posted bail of P30,000 at the RTC in Barili town on the same day. (JKV)