5 students get new lawyers

Lumbia City, Philippines - FIVE students of the Jesus Christ Followers (JCF) are still detained at the Lumbia City Jail for direct assault on police officers after school owners Tuesday told the court they could no longer post bond for the students' provisional liberty.

The students earlier entered not guilty pleas in their arraignment.Lawyers Ma. Caridad San Jose and Neil Pacamalan acted as their counsel.

Regional Trial Court Judge Evelyn Gamotin-Nery of Branch 19 approved the appointment of San Jose and Pacamalan as the new lawyers for JCF.

The students were charged with three counts of direct assault on police officers for an incident at their school last Jan. 28 and grave oral defamation for another incident at the Hall of Justice.These same charges were filed against JCF owner Emy Tiongco, school administrator Rhapsody Dacudao and another school officer Ra Dacudao along with other students.

Judge Nery had asked if the JCF would post bond for the five students who were still detained at the Lumbia City Jail.However, Tiongco replied they no longer have the resources for the five other students who are all still below 18 years old.

Because of this, Nery decided to move the hearing dates earlier.She scheduled marathon hearings to start on July 5.

The judge also told the parties to explore the possibility of the suspects' admitting their guilt to a lesser offense to settle the case.