Convicted ex-media worker vows to get justice

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


A FORMER media worker who was recently convicted in an election-related incident that took place more than four years ago has vowed to fight for justice until he will obtain it.

Herbert Hubert Dumaguing was convicted for qualified trespass to dwelling case filed by Joseph Bitas, a resident of Barangay Tangaro in Catarman town, Camiguin, on May 9, 2010, the eve of the local and national elections.

The grave coercion case against Dumaguing and his father Herbert Hugo, however, was dismissed by the court.

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The decision was handed out by Judge Nannette Michote Lao of the 2nd Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Catarman-Sagay in Camiguin last July 30, 2014.

“I will accept the decision of the court but it doesn’t mean the legal battle has ended. They are still liable for what they did to us,” Dumaguing told Sun*Star by phone Tuesday afternoon.

Dumaguing was referring to the cases he, his father Herbert Hugo and two others filed against some of the political leaders in Camiguin that included grave threats, physical injuries and violation of the Omnibus Election Code (carrying firearms outside the residence).

He said these cases have yet to be acted upon by the Department of Justice (DOJ) panel of prosecutors.

The Dumaguings and their companions were in Camiguin to cover the election there when they were tipped off that a vote-buying had allegedly taken place involving political candidates, in Tangaro.

The group was contracted by Rey Abacahin, a freelance media practitioner, to cover the election activities in the island-province.

In their affidavits, the four claimed they were able to record on video the alleged vote-buying in said barangay.

For his part, Dumaguing said he asked the permission of Bitas’s brother Joel to enter the house of Bitas to get a better view of the activity.

In her decision, Lao cited article 280 of the Revised Penal Code as her basis for convicting Dumaguing, which stated that: “Any private person who shall enter the dwelling of another against the latter’s will shall be punished by arresto mayor and a fine not exceeding [P1,000].”

For the case to stand in court, Lao said three elements must be present.

“In trespass to dwelling, the elements are: (1) the offender is a private person; (2) that he enters the dwelling of another; and (3) such entrance is against the latter’s will.” (Marzalado, Jr. vs. People, G.R. No. 152997, November 10, 2004),” reads a part of Lao’s ruling.

Lao said the three elements were present in Dumaguing’s case.

But Dumaguing said they will push through with the cases they had filed since they are still going through the trauma and humiliation that they went through when they were allegedly mauled and threatened by the suspects.

They had also alleged that video camcorder, their point-and-shoot camera, and cellphones were also taken from them.

The former media workers were even stranded in Camiguin for a few days as they claimed the suspects’ bodyguards and supporters were out hunting for them.

Dumaguing said they got out of Camiguin through the intervention of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and other media groups which requested the Philippine National Police (PNP) to provide them with escorts.

Photos provided to the local media showed the Dumaguings with lacerations and bruises from the manhandling of the suspects and their supporters.

At present, the Dumaguings, who are soliciting advertisements for a living, are awaiting for an action by the DOJ on the cases they had filed against the suspects.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 06, 2014.

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