MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine National Police (PNP) should be blamed for allowing Ma. Ramona Bautista – one of the suspects in the killing of her brother, actor Ram Revilla (real name Ramgen Bautista) – to leave the Philippines, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.
“Let’s ask therefore the PNP the question: How come she has not been formally investigated yet or formally charged, if such is the case? The problem in the Ramona case is the police did not act fast enough as they apparently were outwitted,” she said.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) chief said the burden of explaining why Bautista was able to leave should be put on the PNP.
De Lima also pointed out that Bautista’s flight only justified the power of the DOJ to issue watchlist orders and hold departure orders to prevent those implicated in high crimes from fleeing prosecution “in situations where courts have not yet acquired jurisdiction over criminal offenses since the same are still under police investigation or preliminary investigation, as the case may be.”
She said “the government cannot be rendered powerless in such situations where there’s already a need to prevent a suspect or respondent from fleeing the country and thus be beyond the reach of investigating processes.”
Prior to her departure, Ramona retracted her first claim that she was kidnapped by Ramgen’s killer. She then implicated Ramgen’s aide, Ronald Ancajas in the killing.
The Philippine government has no extradition treaty with Turkey, where she is resident and married to a Turkish national.
Claro de Castro, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) foreign liaison chief, said they will send a formal request to the 190 member-countries of the International Police (Interpol) today to help them locate Ramona.
He said the NBI cannot ask the Interpol to put Ramona’s name on the Red Notice List as there still is no warrant for her arrest. NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula said the request for the Red Notice List requires a warrant of arrest for crimes that could put an accused in jail for at least two years if convicted, and must pass through the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime.
He said the list will only entitle the NBI to be informed by the Interpol’s member-countries should a fugitive show up there.
The Parañaque City prosecutor’s office will hold a preliminary investigation this morning on the murder charge against Ramona and her younger brother, Ramon Joseph Bautista, for their eldest brother’s murder. The two siblings, as well as five others, have also been charged with frustrated murder for the attack on Ram’s girlfriend, Janelle Manahan
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