08 April 2009

Celine Lopez Brother Charged!

TITO LOPEZ charged with grave threats

Conrado de Quiros

The Iloilo City Provincial Prosecutors Office has recommended the filing of a grave threats charge against a scion of the Lopez clan for allegedly threatening to kill a local journalist late in 2008.

Prosecutor Honorio Aragona Jr. made the recommendation, in a resolution dated February 2, 2009, after finding “the evidence sufficient to establish probable cause needed to indict Alberto Lopez II, brother of Celine Lopez and son of former congressman Albertito Lopez and former Iloilo governor Emily Relucio-Lopez, for grave threats.

Iloilo City Prosecutor Peter Baliao approved Aragona’s recommendation.

The case stemmed from a complaint filed by Francis Allan Angelo, executive editor of the Daily Guardian. Angelo alleged that on October 31, 2008, Lopez approached him at around 11 p.m. inside the Flow Bar and Restaurant at Smallville Business and Leisure Complex in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.

Angelo claimed that Lopez threatened to kill him if he did not stop staring at Lopez.

Angelo said he felt “horrified” after seeing the bodyguards of Lopez approaching.

But Lopez claimed that Angelo’s accusation was a fabrication, a lie and a misinterpretation.

Lopez said that he bore no grudge with Angelo and that the complainant “was just imputing an imaginary statement to him in order to portray him as a bad and mean person,” the resolution read.

Lopez, likewise, denied the allegations of Angelo’s witness and companion at that time, lawyer Joseph Anthony Lutero, who stated that Lopez had uttered threatening words.

To support his claims, Lopez presented as witnesses the two bouncers of the restaurant and four others who were also his companions at the time of the incident.

However, Aragona said the evidence established that a confrontation happened on October 31, 2008.

Lawyer Rene Sarabia, the counsel of Lopez, said they would not file any motion for reconsideration.

“The case is not that big that we need to appeal. The only point is that it is an embarrassment on his (Lopez) part,” Sarabia told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a phone interview.

He also said they would try to talk with the complainant to see if he was willing to settle the case out of court.

Angelo said he would leave any talk of settlement with his lawyer.

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