Manila, Feb. 16, 2003 -- Lawyers of American Rod Lauren Strunk yesterday said they will oppose the government's move to try their client for his alleged part in the November, 2001 killing of former actress Dorothy Jones a.k.a. Nida Blanca.

Speaking to reporters, lawyer Alma Fernandez- Mallonga yesterday said they will "ask the the Pasig Court to stop" from proceeding with the murder charge filed against Strunk and Philip Medel last Friday by the Justice department.

Mallonga said they plan to exhaust all legal remedies available to them but insisted that their client is not hiding from authorities.

"We plan to file a motion for the deference of the issuance of the warrant of arrest and we also plan to appeal the DoJ resolution." Mallonga said.

She reiterated their earlier position claiming that their client should not be included in the charge sheet citing alleged lapses in the investigation conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Strunk fled to the United States shortly after Medel during the case's first preliminary investigation recanted his confession of having participated in the killing.

On August last year, the DoJ panel hearing the case junked Stunk's lawyers' motion to dismiss the complaint filed against him.

That same month, on Aug. 13, the prosecutor who had initially handled the case State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco said the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) may have hidden key clues in the murder investigation including Medel's work with Col. Jess Versoza of the "lata-lata" gang; and Medel's previous confinement at the Psychiatric Ward of the Veterans Memorial Hospital.

In Friday's charge sheet, state lawyers had cited despite Medel's claim of tortures, similar admissions which Medel made admitting the killing before television reporters could not have been made under duress.

Earlier, on July 21, 2002 the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informed its local counterpart, the NBI that Strunk is facing a number of criminal cases in connection with prohibited substances as well as fraud.

The evidence of the complainants consisted of the testimonies of 35 witnesses. (Benjamin B. Pulta, Tribune)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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