OAG drops 2 most serious charges vs man

As part of a plea deal it hammered out with the man who killed his landlord, the Office of the Attorney General has agreed to drop the two most serious charges against Alfonso Sebastian Parongan, but the court held off accepting the deal to give the victim’s family time to comment on its terms.

The Office of the Attorney General asked the Superior Court last Thursday to allow the government to remove the first-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder charges against Parongan, who is accused of killing his landlord and injuring the landlord’s husband in a knife attack in Chalan Kanoa.

Instead, the OAG is charging Parongan with second-degree murder in the killing of Josephina Pineda, and assault with a dangerous weapon in the stabbing and injuring of Antonio Barit.

The original information charged Parongan with first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, and assault with a dangerous weapon.

Assistant attorney general Robert Charles Lee said the second amended information is being filed in anticipation of the parties entering into a plea agreement.

Lee said Parongan does not object to the second amended information.

In an order yesterday, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph N. Camacho said the prosecution, the defense counsel, and Parongan signed a plea agreement in court last Wednesday.

Camacho, however, noted that the victims’ families, who watched all the previous court proceedings in this case, were not present in the courtroom.

This prompted Camacho to postpone the change of plea hearing for tomorrow, Wednesday, at 10am, to give the victims’ families an opportunity to address the court about the terms of the plea deal.

Camacho ordered the OAG’s victim advocate to inform the victims’ families of the change of plea hearing date and time.

Camacho said the victims’ families may attend in person and will be given an opportunity to address the court.

In an alternative, the judge said, the families may comment in writing.

The incident happened outside the rented room of Parongan, which is located next to the victims’ house in Chalan Kanoa in the evening of Oct. 29, 2017.

Pineda suffered multiple stab wounds, while Barit sustained 12 injuries in different parts of the head and body, police said.

Police said that Parongan confessed during their interview to being high on drugs and being drunk on the day of the incident.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a veteran journalist who has covered all news beats in the CNMI. Born in Lilo-an, Cebu City in the Philippines, De la Torre graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He is a recipient of many commendations and awards, including the CNMI Judiciary’s prestigious Justice Award for his over 10 years of reporting on the judiciary’s proceedings and decisions. Contact him at ferdie_delatorre@saipantribune.com

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