ANGELES City -- The Regional Trial Court (RTC) and the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) here have suspended the arraignment of actor Mark Anthony Fernandez, who was arrested last October 3 for alleged possession of about one kilogram of dried marijuana leaves.
Attorney Marivic Alfonso-Cading, one of the lawyers of Fernandez, told reporters yesterday that they filed a motion for the suspension of proceedings with RTC Branch 60 where the drug charges were filed and MTC Branch 1 that handles the simple disobedience case against the actor.
“What happened was pina-postpone namin ang proceedings in both courts, MTC 1 and RTC 60, para hindi muna magtuloy ang proceedings because we are asking for a re-investigation of this case. Du’n sa aming motion to suspend proceedings, na-grant naman ng both courts, para magkaroon ng reinvestigation and so we can ask for reconsideration du’n sa resolution ng fiscal,” the lawyer said.
RTC Branch 60 Judge Eda Dizon-Era reset the arraignment for violation of Republic Act 9165 on October 24 while MTC Branch 1 Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. reset the arraignment for simple disobedience on November 17.
“We are also asking for the immediate transfer ni Mark from the police station to the Pampanga Provincial Jail kasi dapat i-transfer na ang accused sa jail. What I know, puno na dito sa Angeles (district jail) kaya hindi na sila tumatanggap ng additional detainees, kaya ang pinakamalapit is San Fernando, ’yung provincial jail,” Cading added.
Actress Alma Moreno, mother of Fernandez, visited his son at the Police Station 6 here where he is detained and attended the suspended arraignment yesterday.
About one kilogram of dried marijuana was seized from actor Fernandez at a police checkpoint here 8:30 p.m. last October 3.
He was tested positive for marijuana use by the police crime laboratory.
Chief Insp. Francisco Guevarra, commander of Police Station 6, said he and his men were conducting an anti-criminality checkpoint along MacArthur Highway in Bgy. Virgen delos Remedios at 8:30 p.m. when they chanced upon Fernandez.
Fernandez was arrested and the bag was confiscated. Inside the bag were brick of marijuana wrapped in brown paper and tape and a separate small amount of marijuana.
Interviewed by reporters while detained at the Police Station 4, Fernandez denied owning the large brick of marijuana.
“Hindi po sa akin ’yun. May naglagay lang po sa loob ng kotse ko. ’Yung akin po ’yung konti lang po,” he said.
Fernandez admitted that he uses marijuana, which he called “damo.” He said he drove from his mother’s house in Para-ñaque to buy marijuana in this city.
Meanwhile, other officials expressed disgust over some showbiz personalities who have defended Fernandez and even accused them of violating his human rights or supporting his claims that he was a victim of a ‘frame-up.’
PRO3 director Chief Supt. Aaron N. Aquino defended the Angeles City police from accusations aired by some fellow showbiz personalities. “First, we don’t have any reason to plant marijuana in his car. Second, it is against the law to plant evidence. Third, the checkpoint was legitimate and done regularly,” he said.
Aquino said Fernandez would not be able to evade the law. “Marijuana and its residues are all over his car, on the seats, on the flooring, they were seen in plain view by my men along with a pack of marijuana on the passenger’s seat because the windows on the left and right sides were opened,” the member of Philippine Military Academy Class 1985 said.
The discovery prompted the local police to make a move to arrest the suspect, who even tried to flee until he was cornered.