KRIS DROPS RAPS VS JOEY; BUT MAYOR FACES NEW GRAFT RAPS

MANILA, OCTOBER 7, 2003 (STAR) By Non Alquitran and Pamela Samia  - The country’s most public lovers’ quarrel was put to rest yesterday as controversial actress and game show host Kris Aquino yesterday dropped the grave threat, grave coercion, illegal possession of firearms and less serious physical injuries charges she had filed earlier against her erstwhile lover, Parañaque City Mayor Joey Marquez.

Lawyer Celine Casanova of the Fortun Law Office filed Aquino’s one-page affidavit of desistance before the office of Rizal province Assistant Prosecutor Mariam Bien at 3 p.m.

The filing of Aquino’s desistance was kept under wraps and the press learned of the event two hours after the affidavit of desistance was filed. Reporters were awaiting Aquino’s lawyer Raymund Fortun’s arrival at the Rizal prosecutor’s office and were not expecting Casanova to file the desistance motion.

Reached at the Fortun Law Office, Casanova said she filed the actress’ affidavit of desistance, but refused to divulge the contents of the document without approval from her superiors.

"Basically, it’s generally requesting the withdrawal and/or dismissal of charges filed against Marquez," she said.

Fortun told The STAR yesterday afternoon that Casanova, a junior partner of the Fortun law firm, filed Aquino’s affidavit of desistance. "Now it is up to the fiscal to decide as to when the charges will be officially dropped.

Both the Aquino and Marquez camps decided to stop talking about their relationship gone sour once Marquez makes his public apology that is deemed satisfactory by the Aquino family.

Fortun said "the two parties (Aquino and Marquez) are aware of their respective responsibilities and will abide (by their agreement) in good faith."

Aquino, accompanied by her mother, former President Corazon Aquino; her brother, Tarlac Rep. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III; her sister Maria Elena "Ballsy" Aquino-Cruz and their lawyers filed the charges against Marquez on Sept. 29.

Aquino accused Marquez of verbal and physical abuse, infecting her with a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) and of cocking and poking a gun at her during a lovers’ quarrel inside a room in a condominium unit in Essensa, West Bicutan, Taguig a week earlier.

The Aquino camp delayed the filing of administrative charges against Marquez to give the mayor enough time to make a public apology, which he initially refused to do.

Aquino, Marquez and their lawyers talked Wednesday night and agreed to settle their differences amicably. Marquez made a public apology broadcast on television Thursday night, which Aquino accepted in a televised statement.

...but mayor now faces graft raps at Ombudsman By Delon Porcalla The Philippine Star 10/07/2003

Beleaguered Parañaque Mayor Joey Marquez’s tiff with lover Kris Aquino may have ended, but his woes are not yet over after the Ombudsman held him criminally liable yesterday for graft over allegations he overpriced by P1.3 million the acquisition of ammunition for his bodyguards.

Ombudsman Simeon Marcelo said the actor-comedian, along with general services officer Ofelia Caunan, should stand trial for the acquisition of P3.2 million worth of ammunition in 1996 and 1997, which should have only been P1.9 million, allocated for cops detailed at the mayor’s office.

Investigators upheld findings made by the Commission on Audit, led by Fatima Bermudez, which discovered the ammunition purchased was done "without any public bidding," aside from the fact that its supplier, VMY Trading is "not an authorized dealer" and did not have the business permit in the local trade and industry office.

"As responsible public officers, it is incumbent upon them that public funds should be managed with utmost care and diligence so that the same will not be wasted to the damage of the government and the public in general," graft prober Emily Reyes stated in her 26-page resolution, dated Aug. 7.

A two-page Ombudsman press statement read: "The acts were done with evident bad faith and manifest partiality and unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference were given to VMY Trading plus the fact that undue injury was suffered by the city government of Parañaque."

Marcelo excluded in the graft suit VMY Trading owner Maritess Yabut — who testified in Marquez’s favor, saying they have been a "regular supplier" since Marquez’s predecessor Pablo Olivares — but her case was nevertheless "referred to the Fact-Finding and Intelligence Bureau for appropriate action."

"Ironically, to include Yabut in the information sheet is not, however, legally without violating her right to due process considering that she was not impleaded as a party respondent. This is, however, without prejudice to the filing of the appropriate charges, if the evidence warrants."


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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