Raps over killing of Albay journo downgraded to homicide

LEGAZPI CITY — Government prosecutors on Tuesday downgraded the charge, from murder to homicide, against the suspect who stabbed dead journalist Celso Amo at a covered court in Daraga town in Albay last Sunday.

The Daraga police on Monday afternoon charged Adam Johnson Abames with murder before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Albay.

However, lawyer Maria Miranda Gojar, Albay Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, said that inquest duty prosecutors who reviewed the case recommended that homicide instead should be filed in court.

The inquest prosecutors have established that the local police failed to prove other elements that would warrant the filing of murder charges against Abames.

Homicide charges would allow the suspect to post PHP120,000 bail for his temporary liberty.

Supt. Benito Dipad, Daraga town police chief, in an interview, said the police were only able to present the affidavit of a “key witness” as the latter already went home to Pili, Camarines Sur after executing his sworn statement.

He said the personal appearance of the witness is vital to the case. The same witness alleged that the victim and the suspect got into a heated argument prior to the stabbing incident.

The witness added that Amo was about to leave the basketball court when the suspect stabbed him at the back with a 12-inch knife.

However, Dipad said he would immediately get in touch with the key witness, whom he said, is willing to appear before an inquest proceeding and cooperate with authorities.

He said a supplemental affidavit would be submitted so that the case could be reverted to murder.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Albay chapter expressed sadness over the senseless killing of the victim.

“Though his death is not related to his work, still, we’re crying for immediate justice,” the group said in a statement.

Amo used to be the regional information officer of the Philippine Information Agency. After his retirement, he became a stringer for the Philippine News Agency before joining the Philippine Star as a news correspondent covering the Bicol region. Mar Arguelles/PNA-northboundasia.com