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Dominguez brothers plead not guilty in Evangelista slay case

After several postponements, Raymond and Roger Dominguez, both suspects in the January killing of car dealer Venson Evangelista, were finally arraigned on Monday at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court. The siblings, alleged leaders of a notorious carjacking group, entered a not guilty plea on the car theft with homicide charges filed against them in connection with the Evangelista killing. They were assisted by their legal counsel Jose Cruz. Two other accused, Jayson Miranda and Alfred Mendiola, refused to enter any plea. This prompted QCRTC Branch 215 Presiding Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla to enter a not guilty plea for them. Mendiola’s lawyer, Willie Rivera, moved for the deferment of his client’s arraignment and asked the court to grant their motion to discharge the accused as state witness. It was Mendiola who tagged the Dominguez brothers as the masterminds in the crime. Rivera told the court that the Department of Justice has already provisionally granted their request for Mendiola’s exclusion as one of the accused and discharge him as state witness. Judge Padilla, however, denied the motion for the deferment of the arraignment, saying the arraignment is without prejudice on the resolution of their motion. “I’m not under the DOJ. Mendiola’s arraignment is without prejudice to his motion to discharge as state witness. I want to know if he is qualified as state witness. I have to follow the rules of court. The prosecution has the chance to adduce evidence in support of said motion," she said. Before the arraignment, a minor confusion took place after Judge Padilla directed the prosecution to include Ferdinand Parulan, whose case was already dismissed by the QC Prosecutor’s Office due to lack of probable cause, in the amended information and ordered his arraignment. Judge Padilla has already admitted the amended information filed by the prosecution wherein all the four accused together with two others who are still at large are included. In the amended information, those listed as accused were the Dominguez brothers, Miranda, Mendiola, and the still-at-large Rolando Talban and alias Joel. Judge Padilla has already ordered the arrest of Talban and Joel. The prosecution, however, sought for the reconsideration of Padilla’s order not to include Parulan in the information and his arraignment, which eventually granted by the court. Meanwhile, while the information was being read before the four accused, Arsenio Evangelista, father of the victim, became emotional as he listened to the circumstances that led to the carjacking of their Toyota Land Cruiser and the eventual killing of his son last January 13. “Naiyak ako, kasi nakita ko justice is moving na so naiyak ako, kasi nung binabasa what happened, detailed yung pagkabasa kung paano yung blow by blow na ginawa nila sa anak ko. ," Evangelista told reporters in an interview. (I cried because I saw that justice is moving, and also because of the blow-by-blow account of what happened, of what they did to my son.) The court, on the other hand, set the hearing on the motion of Mendiola on April 25 and 26 where the prosecution is set to present its evidence to prove that the accused is qualified to be discharge as state witness. - KBK, GMA News