ANGELES CITY- A third judge has taken over the illegal possession of drugs case of actor Mark Anthony Fernandez even as a new “special prosecutor” has been designated in the case.
City prosecutor Percival Atinaja said Judge Irineo Pangilinan took over as permanent judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 58 handing the illegal drugs case against Fernandez.
He replaced Judge Meredith Malig who held the position only temporarily, as she was permanently assigned to the RTC in Guagua town.
Pangilinan used to be with the Municipal Trial Court Branch 1 here which is also handling the disobedience case of Fernandez for attempting to flee policemen who had found him in possession of marijuana here on Oct. 23 last year.
Pangilinan is the third judge in Fernandez’s case. The case was initially raffled off to the sala of RTC Branch 60 Judge Eda Era who later inhibited herself from the case, saying her husband and Fernandez belonged to the same Guardians Brotherhood.
Fernandez has remained detained at the Pampanga provincial jail in the City of San Fernando after Era allowed his transfer there from the severely crowded Angeles City district jail.
At the same time, Atijana also said that regional prosecutor Jesus Simbulan has assigned a “special prosecutor” to handle Fernandez’s case.
He said the case was transferred from the office of Angeles prosecutor Mark Oliver Sison to the offi ce of Mabalacat prosecutor Normandy de Guzman.
Atijana said he did not know the reason for the transfer of the case, but that such move was the prerogative of the regional prosecutor.
In his arraignment, Fernandez pleaded not guilty in the case.