Check if he’s really sick’

09/03/2010 - Is Rizal, Palawan’s first term Mayor Nicolas Montaño Sr. really sick?
The lawyer of the woman whom Montaño allegedly raped asked the court to find out the mayor’s physical condition.

In a pleading to Regional Trial Court Judge Gilbert Moises of Branch 18, lawyer Joyce Moran said Montaño should be examined by an independent body like the National Bureau of Investigation in Central Visayas or the Health Officer of Puerto Princesa City in Palawan or the medico legal officer of the Philippine National Police in Central Visayas.

Moran said an independent examination of the accused will determine his “accurate and truthful medical status.”

If tests show that Montaño is fit to travel, Moran requested the court to order his transfer to Cebu City.

Montaño, 64, was arrested by Palawan provincial police and a police officer from Cebu in a hotel in Puerto Princesa City on Monday afternoon.

Moises issued an arrest warrant against Montaño last Aug. 25 after a case was filed in court against him for allegedly raping a woman inside a house in Cebu City on July 11.

About to board a plane to Cebu, Montaño complained of chest pains and was brought to the Palawan provincial hospital for hypertension.

Last Wednesday, he was transferred to the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Western Command Hospital.

The victim’s counsel sent a doctor to determine the actual condition of the accused. The doctor was denied entry to the hospital.

Moran is set to file administrative charges against those who allegedly “stopped” Montaño’s transfer to Cebu City. She declined to identify the respondents.

Defense lawyer Joey Luis Wee said his client is innocent. “It’s a case of mistaken identity; a political harassment.”

He said they were denied of due process because Montaño was never given a chance to refute the allegations.

Although a preliminary investigation was made by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office, Wee said they never had any knowledge that a case was filed against Montaño.

Montaño’s address known to the handling prosecutor was at sitio Ibabao in barangay Mambaling, Cebu City.

But Wee said the last time Montaño came to Cebu was in 1996.

“The mayor is a very good person and is loved by his constituents,” he said.

If Montaño will be jailed pending trial, Wee said constituents of Rizal will be deprived of an elected mayor.

“We will prove that he (Montaño) is not the person (who committed the crime),” Wee said.

Policemen are expecting to present the accused in RTC Branch 18 where a return of the arrest warrant will be made.

No bail was recommended for Montaño.

With this, Montaño has to be detained at the Bagong Buhay Rehabilitation Center (BBRC) pending resolution of the case. (Cebu Daily News)

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