Court convicts retired sergeant of murder-A A +A
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
CEBU CITY -- The court convicted Tuesday retired Philippine Air Force (PAF) master sergeant Nestor Bugarin for shooting to death two of his in-laws and hurting another one four years ago in this city.
Regional Trial Court Branch 12 Judge Estela Alma Singco sentenced Bugarin to serve two reclusion perpetua terms (at 20-40 years per term) for two counts of murder and 6-12 years for attempted murder.
The court found sufficient proof that Bugarin killed Esmeraldo and Cristito Pontanar. He also wounded Esmeraldo’s wife, Maria Glen. The victims were the brother and father of Bugarin’s wife, Anecita.
He said he acted in self-defense and that Esmeraldo was armed.
“Even assuming…there was an altercation before the shooting incident and that some danger did in fact exist because Esmeraldo was armed, the imminence of that danger had already ceased the moment (Bugarin) subdued him by shooting him first and hitting him,” said Singco in her 25-page decision.
“Here, (Bugarin) became the unlawful aggressor when he shot Esmeraldo not only once but thrice…This is not to mention the fact that accused shot a defenseless 72-year-old man (Cristito),” she added.
According to a Supreme Court ruling, self-defense occurs when there is unlawful aggression on the part of the victim, reasonable need for the means employed to prevent or repel the aggression, and lack of sufficient provocation on the part of the person resorting to self-defense.
“I’m very happy that, at last, justice has been served,” said Maria Glen.
Judge Singco ordered Bugarin to pay the victims’ family a total of P560,909.48 in damages. She also gave Bugarin’s counsel 15 days to file their motion to reconsider her decision.
On the evening of May 30, 2008, Bugarin said during the trial, he was at home watching a television show.
Anecita, his wife, went outside their house on Dagohoy St., Barangay Apas to feed their three dogs and let them go outside afterward.
One of the dogs leaned against the gate of Maria Glen and urinated. Maria Glen, who saw what happened, asked Anecita why she allowed the dog to do that.
They argued. Bugarin said he was awakened by the noise, but did not interfere.
Esmeraldo arrived. He was carrying three firearms and allegedly challenged Bugarin to face him. Anecita, in her testimony, said her brother was drunk, but she did not notice he carried any gun.
Bugarin said he stayed in the house at first, but eventually went out when his daughter urged him to help Anecita.
“Despite the numerous trouble(s) you caused me, you still have the guts to come here,” Bugarin recalled telling Esmeraldo.
He then shot his brother-in-law four times, after he saw the latter was about to draw his gun.
While Esmeraldo was lying on the ground, Cristito allegedly tried to slap Bugarin but didn’t hit him.
Bugarin then shot Cristito while he was approaching Esmeraldo. He also shot Maria Glen and the latter’s son, Paolo, who had thrown stones at him.
Bugarin surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation six days later.
According to Maria Glen, her husband was not armed. She said they were on their way to the house of her parents-in-law when Anecita kept on throwing sand and gravel at them.
Esmeraldo pleaded with Anecita to stop. But Bugarin suddenly came out and shot Esmeraldo.
For his part, Bugarin said he accepted Judge Singco’s decision. He is currently imprisoned in Cebu City Jail in Barangay Kalunasan.
“Siya lang nakakaalam kung sino ang nagsasabi ng tama sa amin (Only God knows who’s telling the truth),” he told reporters after his conviction. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 01, 2012.