* President of homeowners group also charged for connivance
CAGAYAN de Oro City (BEN BALCE / Golden Journal) - A businesswoman was indicted for two counts of child abuse, qualified trespass to dwelling and grave coercion after the City Prosecutor’s Office found probable cause on the cases filed against her by her former husband.
The court has already issued a warrant of arrest against Merlyn Jane M. Mindoro who is still at large as of press time.
The court sets a bail of P80,000 for each count of child abuse and P12,000 each for qualified trespass to dwelling and grave coercion.
The court also issued a warrant of arrest against Alberto Yu, president of the Xavier Estate Homeowners Association (XEHAI), for grave coercion.
Yu has already posted bail and arraignment of his case is set on December 8, 2015.
The indictment stemmed from the cases filed by Mindoro’s former husband, Basil Mahadali, whom she married in accordance with Islamic law in 2009 and divorced in 2013.
While still married, Mindoro and Mahadali bought a house at Xavier Estates under their names.
After their divorce, Mahadali allowed his first wife, Rowena Y. Mahadali, and their children Sherwina, Sherna and two minors aged eight and 16 to live at the house in Xavier Estates.
Mahadali, through his legal counsel Atty. Firdausi I.Y. Abbas, filed criminal complaints against Mindoro, Yu, Major Daniel L. Precioso Jr., Alvic Gallamaso, Edwin Masin, Bacol, W.P. and SPO3 Lito M. Baculio for child abuse, grave coercion, qualified trespass to dwelling, slander by deed and malicious mischief.
Precioso is the subdivision’s head of security while Gallamaso, Masin and Bacol are the subdivision’s security guards.
The complaints for malicious mischief and slander by deed were referred to the Barangay Lupon for resolution.
After subsequent investigation, Assistant City Prosecutor Allan M. Radaza said he found probable cause to indict Mindoro for qualified trespass to dwelling, grave coercion and child abuse, and Yu for grave coercion.
Mahadali alleged that on October 7, 2014 at around 4:00pm, Mindoro, accompanied by the subdivision’s guard, intruded into their house located at 0423 Langka St. inside Xavier Estates in Cagayan de Oro City.
He alleged that Mindoro shouted at them and told them to leave the premises, saying she is the rightful owner of the house and is the one paying the bills.
Rowena reportedly requested her to leave but Mindoro merely ignored her.
Mindoro left and later came back at around 8:00pm with SPO3 Lito Baculio from the SM Police Substation.
Mahadali alleged that Mindoro destroyed the house’s main door.
The next day, Mahadali said their children were prevented from entering the subdivision by the security guards, reportedly upon the orders of Yu.
Mahadali also alleged that on October 14, 2014, his 16-year-old son said he felt humiliated after Mindoro allegedly pointed an accusing finger at him while inside a mall.
Mindoro and Yu denied all the accusations hurled against them.
In his resolution, Radaza pointed out that the house is owned by Mahadali and Mindoro but both conceded to allow Rowena and the children to stay in the house.
“Merlyn, being part-owner of the house, could have retained her right to possess the property to the exclusion of Rowena and his family if only she immediately dissented to their occupancy. By reason of Basil’s authorization and Merlyn’s acquiescence, Rowena, therefore, enjoys the legal right to possess the house. When Merlyn arrived and entered the subject property on October 7, 2015 in order to wrest it from Rowena’s lawful possession, Merlyn committed unlawful trespass to dwelling. The offense committed by Merlyn is Qualified Trespass to Dwelling pursuant to Article 280 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC),” Radaza said.
He said it is “concededly true” that “Basil gave his permission for Rowena and his family to stay in the house, to Merlyn’s consternation.”
Radaza pointed out that Mindoro has equal right to choose who should occupy the house. However, her “acquiescence” of Rowena’s occupancy prevents her to evict them extra-judicially.
“Given that she cannot evict them without court order, then she cannot preclude them from entering the house without proper authority also,” he said.
Radaza also said grave coercion was committed by Mindoro, Yu, Precioso, Gallamaso, Masin and Bacol when they prevented the children from entering the subdivision.
“The facts indicate that all the elements of grave coercion are present. Merlyn, Yu, Maj. Precioso and the security guards prevented Rowena and her family from entering the house without lawful authority,” Radaza ruled.
He added that Yu cannot “hunker behind the move-in form to protect him from indictment.”
“If Merlyn has no right, neither has Yu to extra-judicially evict Rowena and her family. He therefore does not definitely possess the right to bar their entry. The collusion between Merlyn and Yu in the commission of this offense is glaringly exposed,” he said.
The City Prosecutor’s Office absolved Precioso and the security guards, citing they were “merely acting under orders of Yu.”
However, Radaza emphasized that the non-indictment of the guards does not mean that the element of threat or intimidation is absent.
Meanwhile, Radaza said Mindoro should be indicted for two separate counts of child abuse for “committing emotional cruelty” on the children when she intruded the house and for “pointing fingers” at the 16-year-old son while inside a mall.
“On the part of their children, who reasonably lacked complete awareness of what is going on. Merlyn’s outburst hurt them emotionally. The presence of the security guards and that of SPO3 Baculio, the fear of being ejected from the house was real enough. Such emotional hurt authored by Merlyn to immediately evict them without lawful authority is a concrete illustration of emotional cruelty,” he said.
Radaza said Mindoro committed emotional maltreatment when she pointed fingers on the 16-year-old son while inside a mall and in the presence of several mall goers.
It was Mindoro who first filed a civil case for child abuse against Mahadali, Rowena and their children Sherwina and Sherna, including their two minor children.
The case is still pending before Branch 19 under Judge Evelyn G. Nery where the case was transferred from Branch 22 under Presiding Judge Richard D. Mordeno.
Mordeno on February 6, 2015 granted the Motion to Inhibit filed by the respondents’ counsels Abbas and Associates through lawyer J. Ricardo H. Moreno.
Through her legal counsel Atty. Evangeline Tadlas-Carrasco, Mindoro alleged that after their divorce, Mahadali harassed her and continued to harass her. She later applied for a Temporary Protection Order but was denied by Mordeno.