Pope irked police, brgy. execs but cared for adopted minor-A A +A
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
DEPENDING on who one talks to, John Pope was a courteous and caring man, but he was also bothersome and a troublemaker.
In a one-page handwritten letter Pope wrote to a minor whom he wanted to adopt, he promised her a better life and a house worth P600,000 when she turns 18.
Homicide investigators of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) discovered the letter dated Jan. 1, 2012 inside Pope’s residence in Barangay Kalunasan.
In the letter, Pope also referred to a “historical document” about his efforts to “fight many of the problems in the Philippines.”
“If I am murdered, you will have a valuable document proving that I gave my life for truth and justice,” he said in the letter.
The letter was forwarded by the Ombudsman of the Visayas to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.
But Senior Supt. Patrocinio Comendador, who served as director of the CCPO before being assigned to head the provincial police office, described Pope as a troublemaker.
He said they often got complaints about Pope.
“Magsige og pamato kuno ug manghagis basta mahubog (We often got complaints about him throwing objects and creating disturbance),” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Comendador said he advised Dr. Rene Rafols, one of Pope’s victims, to acquire a firearm for protection after the Canadian national threatened him.
Pope was arrested in May 2011 after he allegedly brandished a firearm outside the clinic of Rafols.
Pope filed a misconduct case against Insp. Isagani Pugoy, who was then deputy chief of the Fuente Police Station, as a result of his arrest. He also filed a graft complaint against fiscal and yelled at court personnel in 2011.
Pope also filed a libel case against a local newspaper for running the story with allegedly incorrect information. He lamented the story did not put his correct address and the place where he was arrested.
Pope’s neighbor, Eutiquia Aguilar, told TV Patrol Cebu that the Canadian always greeted her when they bumped into each other.
A staff at the Kalunasan Barangay Hall, however, said Pope always had complaints.
One of the Canadian’s complaints was the slow process of his petition to adopt a girl who reportedly lives with him.
Yesterday morning, neighbors saw Pope boarding a rented motorcycle wearing a shirt and jogging pants.
Floridan Quijano, Pope’s lawyer, told Sun. Star Cebu last night that he did not see any indication that his client would shoot Dr. Reynold Rafols and his lawyer, Jubian Achas, and Assistant Prosecutor Ma. Theresa Casiño.
He said he met with Pope last December to talk about the illegal possession of firearm case the Canadian was facing.
Quijano, who said he represented Pope pro bono or free of charge, felt saddened by the death of Rafols and Achas, who was also his friend.
“Nobody deserves this,” he said.
The IBP Cebu issued a resolution yesterday condemning the killing of Achas.
The lawyers' group also expressed its condolences to the family members of the victims. Achas was a director of the IBP Cebu.
“The shooting...is an unreasonable and troubling attack not only against the legal profession, but against all persons who staunchly fight for truth, justice and peace,” read the resolution.
The 66-year-old Pope had complained about the alleged corruption in the Philippine justice system and the police to lawyer Earl Bonachita, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City chapter president.
Pope in a Sept. 12, 2012 handwritten letter to Bonachita, said he was “fed up” with allegedly corrupt prosecutors who mishandled complaints against him.
He furnished Bonachita with a copy of his book, “Justice Denied,” where he wrote: “All you have to do to beat corruption and dishonest people is to give them enough rope to hang themselves.”
He lamented allegedly biased legal procedures in the Philippines that ensured his conviction even though the allegations against him were “flimsy and without merit.”
He said Philippine police and court officials can be bribed for P40,000.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 23, 2013.