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The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or met

Discussion in 'Important Causes' started by Markham, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Several weeks ago, someone here asked me to provide some details into Cebu's most notorious court case of modern times and one that has international ramifications. It was briefly reported by "red tops" in the UK and was discussed on another Filipino UK Forum where some highly defamatory and libelous statements were made by its more outspoken members.

    A bit of background:

    In the middle of last year, I was invited to join the overall defence effort in respect of Ian Griffiths and Bella Santos who were accused of committing the heinous crimes of the kidnap and murder of a six year old school girl from Minglanilla, Cebu, Ellah Joy Pique. I had been following the case from the very start and frequently wrote online about it. After Ian's initial contact, I did have him vetted through my own contacts in UK law enforcement just so that I could be absolutely certain of his innocence. There is no recorded black mark against him anywhere: as far as the UK is concerned, Ian Griffiths is squeakily clean.

    As part of my work, I get to see all the official documents in this case including the Court Transcripts and it is very clear to me that the Police has fabricated the case - and not for the first time. Much of what you will read in the attached document is based on official records but there are some details which I'm not at liberty to divulge not least because the Defense Team is abiding by the Judge's edict that there be no reporting of witnesses' testimonies.

    The Prosecution Team involved in this case is huge: no fewer than 4 Fiscals (State Prosecutors), 3 lawyers from the Childrens' Legal Bureau in Cebu and two other private prosecutors have all had a hand in this case. The Defense Team they're up against is equally formidable - 6 experienced trial lawyers in Cebu led by Rameses Victorius Villagonzalo, two more on retainer in Manila and two Firms of Solicitors in London, one on the criminal side, the other taking care of the civil law aspects. Should it ever become necessary, the London Team will be bolstered by the addition of at least one QC and several juniors but they would only be needed should an extradition request be made.

    I commend you read the attached document and you will realise just how easy it is to become unwittingly involved in a legal system that accords very few rights and where those charged have to prove their innocence.

    Unfortunately this site will not let me upload an 83Kb PDF, so you'll have to download it from here.
  2. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Alas, the link didn't work for me.
  3. Kuya
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    Kuya The Geeky One Staff Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    When I get home tonight I will download and store the file on this websites servers..
  4. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Thank you. Ian Griffiths may be "safe enough" in Britain, but Bella Santos is not.
  5. Kuya
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    Kuya The Geeky One Staff Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Having read around the web the story of Ian Griffiths, it gets more and more depressing at how innocent people can have their lives destroyed by corrupt officials just trying to get a nice bit of publicity. More shocking is how the lack of any real reporting on his case was done by The Sun newspaper when they did a little peice on it, simply taking the word of the Philippine police as if he had been convicted from cast iron evidence.

    :(
  6. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Still cannot get Markham's link to work - and I am a member of LivPhil and logged in!
  7. Aromulus
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    Aromulus The Don Staff Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Deydodatdontdeydoh...???
  8. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

  9. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Two similar pieces appeared in the Daily Mail and the Southampton Echo has published around 6 pieces in all - all based on "reportage" in the Cebu Sun.Star, a paper not known for accurate and balanced reporting. But no British paper mentioned that Ian Griffiths was released from Bail when Scotland Yard decided there was no evidence of any offence being committed by him.

    What's disheartening though is this: all Cebu's media reporters (press and TV) have been attending all the sessions for the Bail Application and, if they were paying attention, would have known that the defense lawyers successfully destroyed all the prosecution witnesses' credibility. But that's not what they report! If you read the following day's newpapers - or watch the TV news coverage - you'd come to the conclusion that Ian and Bella were positively identified by each and every witness, so therefore they must be guilty.

    I believe the reason for this is as follows:

    When Sven-Erik Berger and Karen Esdrelon were "in the frame", the press was initially very much against them but they became increasingly critical of the Police and the safety of the case against the pair as it became clearer and clearer that their alibis were rock-solid. I think that pressure has been applied from upon high not to repeat that "mistake" in an attempt to prevent the establishment being made to look extremely foolish for the second time, not only locally but internationally also. In other words, a massive face-saving operation.

    As this Bail Hearing draws to a close, we're bracing ourselves for a concerted negative campaign, orchestrated by the PNP (and very probably prosecuting Attorney dela Cerna who has been responsible for making a number of libelous accusations against the couple), played by the mass bands of the media and aimed to place the pressure of public opinion on the Judge. And there are some quite vocal Filipinos who believe that Ian and Bella should be found guilty and severely punished - even if innocent - to atone for all the unpunished crimes committed by the evil foreigner.

    This case is regularly discussed on at least two Expat forum sites and all except one who post on those sites believe that Ian and Bella are completely innocent. The sole dissenter is a former New York City copper who can not accept that his PNP friends are lazy, corrupt and have got it wrong again.
  10. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Last edited: Nov 6, 2012
  11. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    The Cebu Daily News article you linked is a "filler" and, as such, has no contentious content. Several weeks after the Police searched Bella Santos' home and found no real evidence, her house was burgled but only her electronic gadgetry was stolen - anything that could be used to take or store digital photos. It is believed that the PNP were behind this and were looking for evidence of child pornography/paedophilia which was the basis of their theory as to Ellah Joy's disappearance and murder. Shortly after that burglary, Cebu Daily News began publishing photographs of Bella Santos and Ian Griffiths that could only have come from one place: Bella's laptop computer which had been stolen from her home.

    Andrew Drummond's piece for the Daily Wail has been lifted from local news coverage and, in several instances, is factually incorrect - just as the original reports were. The article does, however, include a rather nice example of bureaucratic double-speak:
    which is in fact legally correct. However, that application of the law did not stop Immigration Officers preventing Sven-Erik Berger and his fiancee Karen Esdrelon from leaving the country a few weeks earlier solely based on their resemblance to an artist's impressions.
  12. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Thanks.

    Was an autopsy carried out on the little girl's body - if yes, do you know what the findings were?

    Incidentally, having read your .pdf, I concur with your hypothesis.
  13. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Ah, you asked me this on another Forum! I'm afraid I have to give you an evasive answer because this deals with the specifics of evidence that's not yet in the Public Domain and which I'm currently not at liberty to make public.

    There was a post-mortem but its findings have not been published, however the Death Certificate issued by the same doctor who carried out the PM is a document of public record and what is really interesting is the time of death. He gives the approximate time of death as 11pm and I understand that the margin of error is about one hour either way, meaning she died between 10pm and midnight.

    Now I suggest you look at the Google Earth map of Cebu and locate Barangay Inayagan in Naga - it is in fact on the east side of the island and borders Minglanilla before you get to Naga city proper to the south. It is there that the prosecution claims that Ellah Joy met her death. Now follow the main highway south through Naga and on to Carcar where the highway divides, part continuing south down the east coast and part crossing the central mountain spine to Barili and then south to Moalboal and Dumanjug on the west coast. Just to the west of Barili Town and just before the highway meets the coast and turns south you'll find Sayaw Beach. It is there, at Sayaw, that two witnesses claim to have watched Ian Griffiths dump Ellah Joy's body which was wrapped in a sheet, secured by an internet cable and weighted with several large stones. The time? 11pm.

    Even if Ellah Joy died at 10pm, it is inconceivable that Ian and Bella - both of whom would very likely have been in a state of shock - could have prepared the body, found large stones and secured the body in a sheet with an internet cable, put it in their Pajero and driven to Sayaw Beach in just one hour. My brother-in-law has actually timed the journey at the same time of day in a similar vehicle and informs me that it took him almost 90 minutes. That road is narrow and twisty as it goes across the mountains and always busy for at least 20 out of 24 hours - it's the major highway which in addition to local traffic, carries ferry traffic to and from San Carlos on Negros. And the Police could only find 2 witnesses traveling together on a motorbike?!

    So Ellah Joy died at about 11pm and her body was dumped at about the same time on the other side of the island some 30-40 kms distant! She could equally have died later than 10pm however I'm told that the given time of death is likely to be quite accurate as the forensic pathologist who carried out the PM is very experienced and is, in fact, the head of Cebu's PNP Crime Laboratory.
  14. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    I take your point. Thank you.

    I wonder if the Pique family have access to motor transport (eg trike or jeepney) that would not involve a non-family member...
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2012
  15. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    I can see where you're going with this ... and I believe the answer is a qualified "yes" ;).
  16. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Here's an update on the latest situation.

    The Bail hearings were completed at the beginning of December following which the Prosecution filed for the acceptance of its various Exhibits, known as "the Formal Offer of Exhibits". The Defence subsequently filed its Comments and Opposition in respect of those Exhibits and the Court has yet to rule on the issue. The Prosecution has also failed to notify the Court and the Defense of the names of the three additional witnesses that one of the private prosecutors claimed in a Press Statement would be called for the main case, even though the Prosecution were ordered to do so.

    The main trial is scheduled to start on 28th January but this is highly unlikely - for one thing, one of the accused is still in the UK and, so far, there's been no attempt to extradite him. And no, he can not be tried in his absence, the Philippine Constitution is very clear on that point. Besides that, the Court must first rule on the admissibility of the Prosecution's Exhibits and, of course, rule on the question of Bail.

    Tomorrow morning the Defence will be filing a Motion which draws the Court's attention to the failings of the Prosecution, requests guidance as to what form the scheduled January hearing will take and also requests for Bail to be granted on or before 28th of January.

    As you may know, Gwendolyn Garcia was suspended as Cebu's Governor on the orders of the President just before Christmas and her suspension (of 6 months) is due to end just after the mid-term elections where she is standing as a candidate for Congress. She, rather unwisely in my view, took far too close a personal interest in this case right from the outset - to the extent of giving presents to each of the child witnesses when the Norwegian national and his fiancée were "in the frame". When that case collapsed, she was made to look really rather foolish and there's always been a feeling in the back of our minds that she might exert influence over the Judge to ensure that Bail would be refused so that she's not made to look foolish for the second time. The Governor would, I'm sure, have been very dismayed (probably angered) by the Judge's decision to hold hearings for Bail, since neither kidnapping nor homicide are bailable offences. And if Bail is granted, that really signals the end of the case since Bail would only be granted if the Prosecution case is too weak.
  17. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Thank you. I am not worried about Ian Griffiths but I do worry about Bella Santos. Let's hope she gets bail.

    The involvement of Garcia is worrying, but she has other fish to fry at the moment.
  18. Kuya
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    Kuya The Geeky One Staff Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Thanks for the update Markam!
  19. Aromulus
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    Aromulus The Don Staff Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    Neanderthal system..............
  20. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Re: The Englishman, the Norwegian and the 6 year old Filipina neither of them knew or

    It looks to me as if Bella Santos is in jail for the following offences:

    1. Being good looking.

    2. Being the girlfriend of a foreigner.

    3. Having a "past".

    4. Having some money.

    All of which are offences against the "Virgin/Whore Standard" generally applied to women in Catholic nations, most certainly including the Philippines.

    Having read Markham's note, however, she obviously is not guilty of murder.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013

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