Thursday, February 26, 2009

Charges of attempted murder filed vs two foreign tourists

By CARINE M. ASUTILLA, ABS-CBN Central Visayas | 02/26/2009 10:43 PM

Charges of causing serious physical injuries and attempted murder were filed against two foreigners in Cebu City Thursday for allegedly attacking two Filipinos.

Lawyer Inocencio Dela Cerna, counsel for Hilario Escudero IV and Don Marck Delleva, filed the cases against Hola Iketau, a Tongan, and Jody Hunt from New Zealand at the Cebu City Prosecutors’ Office. Prosecutor II Raul Cristobal received the cases.

Escudero had bruises all over his body, a front tooth was broken, and his neck was fractured but Delleva suffered more. Aside from bruises, his jaw was busted. Delleva could no longer talk and chew food. He is scheduled to have surgery Friday at a private hospital. Delleva is a liaison officer of Cebu Medical Supplies and Equipment while Escudero is an aircraft officer.

Escudero, in his affidavit-complaint, said that he and Delleva together with one Eleanor Ubal were onboard a car going to uptown Cebu past midnight last Sunday. He said they happened to pass by F. Manalo St. in front of Eddie’s Hotel.

Escudero said that he noticed that cars in front of them were slowing down and there were about 20 foreigners who were pointing and cursing every passing vehicle. The foreigners were allegedly drinking beer in the middle of the street.

When Escudero came nearer, Hunt allegedly stood up and blocked them. Escudero said he blew the car’s horn so that Hunt would move aside but Hunt banged the hood of his car with his fist and the rest of the foreigners encircled the car.

Escudero said that he, Delleva and Ubal then went out of the car. Escudero said he then confronted Hunt. Hunt was allegedly about to smash a bottle of beer into Escudero but another foreigner allegedly stopped the New Zealander.

They reportedly exchanged heated words for a time, but later the foreigners allegedly started pushing the two victims. Hunt then reportedly slipped away from the crowd and went inside Lonestar KTV located just around the corner of Queens Road and called another group of foreigners, one of them reportedly was Iketau, who came running towards them.

Out of fear, Escudero said he told his companions to get in the car. Hunt allegedly was about to punch him but he managed to close the door of the car before it happened. He said he was able to get in the car. Delleva however reportedly did not have time to do so. Escudero said he heard Delleva cry out in pain. Iketau allegedly punched him purportedly dislocating Delleva’s jaw. Hunt then reportedly ran towards Delleva and rammed him.

Escudero said he went out of the car to help Delleva but Ikatau grabbed him and punched him several times in the head and face.

Escudero fell down and he tried to get up but Ikatau allegedly hit and kicked him again several times together with another foreigner he never knew. Iketau allegedly pulled him up again and hit him several times until he felt numbed. A whistle from a security guard of Eddie’s Hotel reportedly stopped the rumble. Reportedly, the foreigners then stopped hitting him and went directly to the KTV bar.

Ubal, the security guard and bystanders reportedly came to their rescue.

The victims said they then reported the incident to Fuente Police Office and went for a medical examination at Cebu City Medical Center.

Escudero said that he was traumatized by the incident. He said that it would cost him much to repair his front tooth and it would take time before he could recover from the pain he sustained from the incident.

Last Tuesday, Iketau and Hunt went to Fuente Police Station to have their statements taken on the incident.

Dela Cerna said that the two foreigners told police that they have been mauled by two Filipinos and sustained several bruises. He said that the two foreigners were trying to turn the story around. Dela Cerna said that police then contacted the alleged victims when they discovered that the two foreigners fit the description Escudero and Delleva told police.

When they were all in the police station, the two foreigners however reportedly asked for forgiveness. Dela Cerna said that the two were willing to pay for damages. When it was settled, the foreigners were not detained.

The following day, Dela Cerna again met up with the suspects. He said that he brought with him receipts of medicines and hospital bills reaching up to P500,000. When the foreigners learned of the amount, they reportedly told Dela Cerna that all they could offer was P50,000. When Dela Cerna saw that there was no hope for their clients to get enough financial support from them, he decided to press charges.

Layer Noel Archival, counsel of the two foreigners, said that the incident was just a mere traffic problem. He said that Iketau and Hunt were not the ones who started the fight and that Escudero and Delleva did.

He said that his clients were also victims because they sustained bruises from the incident but they were willing to settle the case and pay for damages even if they too were hurt in the rumble.

The Filipino complainants however asked them to each pay for two million pesos for damages.

Archival said that the foreigners could not afford it because they are mere tourists who have been here for months. Archival said that they are willing to face the charges than pay for the damages.

Dela Cerna said that they did not ask for that huge amount but were asking for a larger amount than what the foreigners have offered them. He said that Delleva already has more than P500,000 hospital bills excluding the expenses of his jaw operation today.

as of 02/26/2009 10:43 PM

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