SC Grants DOJ's Request for Transfer of Venue in the Rasuman Investment Scam Trial

29 October 2013

In a letter dated 31 January 2013, the Department of Justice (DOJ), through National Prosecution Service (NPS) Prosecutor General CLARO A. ARELLANO, requested that the venue for the trial in Criminal Case Nos. 2012-1090, 2013-071 and 2013-072, then pending before Branches 20 and 23 of the Regional Trial Court, Cagayan De Oro City (RTC-CDO), be transferred to any branch of the RTC-Manila.

The cases arose from the three (3) separate charges for  syndicated estafa against JACHOB "COCO" A. RASUMAN ("RASUMAN"), et al., who, along with some of his closest family members and relatives, are accused of having operated a large-scale investment/pyramiding scam in the Lanao del Sur and other  proximate areas.

The request was made based on various considerations,  including the risks posed by the political and economic status of the personalities involved on the security of prosecutors and witnesses alike, as well as the heightened risk and expenses entailed by the act of constantly transporting the principal accused, Coco Rasuman, from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention facility in  Manila to CDO. It may be recalled that, after his arrest, custody over Coco Rasuman was transferred to the NBI Headquarters, where stringent security measures were implemented due to alleged threats on his life.

In a Resolution dated 7 August 2013 and received by the DOJ only recently, the Supreme Court, upon recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator, granted the request, stating that "with the circumstances obtaining in these case, the occurrence of the  miscarriage of justice is not farfetched." The SC, thereafter, directed the records of the cases be forwarded to the RTC-Manila, and that the cases be raffled by the Executive Judge thereat. 

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