Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. has already started pre-trial of the case last week with the hearing of the testimony of local policemen who caught Fernandez in possession of one kilo of marijuana here in October last year.
Sources from Branch 58 Clerk of Court office said Pangilinan wanted weekly hearings of all cases under him, including that of Fernandez who has remained detained at the Pampanga Provincial Jail in the City of San Fernando.
The sources said cops who found marijuana in the car of Fernandez when he was arrested already testified in a pre-trial held last week and are slated to face questioning from the defense lawyers in the next hearing.
Pangilinan is the third judge to handle Fernandez’s case which is non-bailable. The first judge inhibited from the case while the second judge was temporary and was replaced by Pangilinan.
At the same time, the Office of the City Prosecutor here said Central Luzon regional prosecutor Jesus Simbulan has appointed a “special prosecutor” from Mabalacat City to take over Fernandez’s case.
City prosecutor Percival Atinaja said the case was transferred from the offi ce of prosecutor Mark Oliver Sison to prosecutor Normandy de Guzman. He said he did not know the reason for this, but that the regional prosecutor had such prerogative.
The lawyers of Fernandez had reportedly asked media to be blocked from covering his hearings, but some security personnel were noted to have allowed television news crews from Manila to cover past hearings.