‘Judge Bitay’ dies of cardiac arrest

CAGAYAN de Oro’s “hanging judge” died Wednesday of heart attack.

Judge Noli T. Catli, widely known as the “hanging judge” of the city, was rushed Wednesday evening to Maria Reyna Hospital but later succumbed to cardiac arrest.

Born on May 23, 1938 in Barangay San Simon, Cagayan de Oro City, Catli served as the City’s Fiscal from 1972 to 1986.

He became judge in Cagayan de Oro from 1987 to 2008 where he served as the courts’ executive judge.

Catli is survived by wife Lydia and son Lawyer Giovanni and daughter Giselle Vanessa. He retired as executive judge last year.

His body currently lies in state at Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes and will be interred on Sunday at Oro Gardens Memorial Park, Upper Carmen, this city.

Catli was acclaimed as the no-nonsense judge having presided the Heinous Court of the city’s RTC.

He gained prominence when he rendered a verdict of death by lethal injection to Winchester Abut for murder on October 9, 1998.

In a judgment penned by Catli it stated the following: “this Court hereby finds both accused, Winchester Abut, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of murder– hereby sentences the accused, Winchester Abut to death by lethal injection.”

The Supreme Court later affirmed with modifications Catli’s verdict on the case.

Catli was also known as a staunch anti-drug abuse advocate, sending to jail not just petty drug users but even a village solon.

He sent Martin Macapantun, a barangay councilor of this city’s Barangay 31 to jail for 20 years after the latter was found guilty of drug trafficking. by Cong B. Corrales

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