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RELATIVES OF WRONG-WAY DRIVER VICTIMS ASK: "WHY NO ARREST?"

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(Editor's note: This article originally appeared in Filipino Express (Oct. 8-14, 2007) and other outlets.)

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA
(Journal Group Limited)


CHICAGO, Illinois (JGL) –  The criminal case against Philippine superstar Nora Aunor for possession of controlled substance and a glass pipe is now stricken off the records unless

“she applies for a job as a Los Angeles (California) police officer.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James R. Dabney of Department F in Los Angeles told Ms. Aunor in open court Monday, Oct. 1, that “your case is dismissed as if you had not been convicted. You are 99.9 percent clean unless you want to be a police officer.”

Her lawyer, Sherwin C. Edelberg, told this reporter over the phone that “the case against my client has been thrown out. For all intents and purposes, she (Nora Aunor) has no (criminal) record, unless she applies for a job as police officer” where her record might surface. Edelberg’s partner, Claire N. Espina, who also handles the case, was not in court and was said to be indispose.



EXITING THE COURT ROOM:

Filipino superstar Nora Aunor (third from left) is flanked by her relatives, aunt Manay Belen Villamayor (to her right) and her cousin, Maribel Aunor (to her left) and her lawyer, Sherwin C. Edelberg (extreme left) as they emerged from the court room Monday, Oct. 1, after the dismissal of the felony charges of possession of methamphetamine (shabu) and a glass pipe in March 2005 by the Los Angeles, California Superior Court. (JGLPhoto by Nick Sagmit)


Edelberg said the 53-year-old songstress also paid $220.00 fine to close the book on a case that started 18 months ago.

Sandi Gibbons, public information officer of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, quoted DA Laurie Blaustein as saying that Ms. Aunor, whose real name is Nora Villamayor, has “completed all the terms of her probation in the drug program under California Law. Her case is dismissed.”

ACCOMPANIED BY HER AUNT, "MANAY BELEN" VILLAMAYOR


Ms. Aunor was accompanied in court by her aunt, “Manay Belen” Villamayor, her cousin, Maribel Aunor and another cousin and chaperon “Sunshine.” They waited more than three hours before her case was called. But it only took Judge Dabney a few minutes to dismiss the case.

 The fine is part of “18-month deferred entry judgment” issued last March 29, 2006 by Judge James Brandlin.

Under the deferred judgment, if Ms. Aunor is not arrested for any violation during the 18-month period, “the plea is withdrawn, as if (it was) never made, there is no record of conviction, and the case is dismissed, and arrest stricken from the record.”

Earlier, Atty. Espina, Ms. Aunor’s lawyer said, Nora was granted full credit for all the group sessions she attended in the Drug Court program and was not required to attend any more sessions during those 18 months.  

Ms. Aunor also passed in excess of 40 drug tests while under Drug Court and is no longer required to undergo any drug testing.  She was to return in October 2007 for the closure of the case unless defense makes a motion for early termination, an option Ms. Aunor did not take.

Ms. Aunor’s guilty plea comes nearly a year after she was arrested for possession of eight grams of methamphetamine (commonly known as shabu) and a glass of pipe in her carry-on bag at the Los Angeles International Airport while she was on a domestic plight to Oakland, California. She was arrested on March 30, 2005. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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