Dumpit convicted

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


CEBU -- A judge found Senior Police Officer 1 Adonis Dumpit guilty of homicide for the death of a robbery suspect, saying the law “does not clothe police officers with authority to arbitrarily judge the necessity to kill.”

Judge Ester Veloso also ordered Dumpit to pay the family of Ronron Go P50,000. Go was 17 last Dec. 14, 2004, when Dumpit shot him in an alley in Barangay Tejero, Cebu City.

Dumpit, who has already served three years, was sentenced to spend six to nine years and four months in jail. He had already served 20 years in the police force when he was charged with Go’s death.

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Veloso, the Regional Trial Court Branch 6 presiding judge, said there was no evidence to support Dumpit’s claim that he had shot Go in self-defense.

“There was no unlawful aggression and provocation on the part of the victim,” Veloso said in her 27-page decision.

She pointed out that Go “merely ran away” when Dumpit accosted him.

Interviewed by GMA 7’s Balitang Bisdak, Dumpit said he just “responded” when Go first fired at him.

‘Very thorough’

He had expected an acquittal because his administrative case had been dismissed by the military ombudsman. Dumpit also advised fellow police officers to always observe the rules when neutralizing suspects.

Benjamin Militar, Dumpit’s lawyer, said they will seek a reconsideration of Judge Veloso’s ruling.

But he also lauded the judge for a “very magisterial decision.”

“We have to commend Judge Veloso. It was a very thorough decision. She appreciated all the evidence presented,” Militar told reporters after the promulgation.

The decision pointed out that Dumpit had admitted shooting Go around 5 p.m. last Dec. 14, 2004, while the officer was following up on a robbery complaint.

A 14-year-old neighbor of Dumpit’s had asked for his help, hours after she lost a silver necklace to two men during a jeepney robbery.

Dumpit and Go were not strangers. About two years before the boy’s death, Dumpit testified, he had arrested the boy, then 15 years old, after Go’s mother and grandmother asked for his help. They allegedly told him that he was an addict and they could no longer control him.

Official duty

On the day he went to their house to ask about the jeepney robbery, Dumpit testified, he had told Go’s mother that if the boy returned the necklace, “the complainant would not sue and the matter would be closed.”

The prosecution’s witnesses said that when Dumpit and Go bumped into each other in an alley that afternoon, the officer told the boy not to run, but then shot him “without any warning.”

One of the witnesses, Glenda del Mar, testified that she saw the teenager raise his hands and heard him shout, “Nay, help me!”

Dumpit, however, testified that Go and a companion had fired twice at him, but missed because he dropped to the ground.

In her decision, Judge Veloso said there was insufficient proof that Dumpit used treachery and superior strength. But there was also no proof behind Dumpit’s claim that a shootout had occurred.

“The killing of Ronron Go was not sought on purpose. The accused went to the scene in pursuance of his official duty as a police officer after having been summoned for assistance by the robbery victim and her mother,” the judge said.

Excessive

But it was “excessive” of Dumpit to shoot Go twice in the back, if all he meant to do was “disable” him.

“Indeed, even the accused himself testified that if a person to be arrested fought back, he would neutralize him by shooting him in the foot,” the judge said.

A former medico-legal officer of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) had testified for the prosecution that the gunshots went through Go’s stomach, liver and left lung.

The judge also pointed out that a paraffin test made on Go failed to spot any traces of gunpowder, which suggested that he had not been able to fire a gun shortly before his death.

Militar said he hopes to convince Judge Veloso to reevaluate “some aspects of the case.”

“It was, in fact, moral courage because this is a very emotional case, considering it involved the death of a minor and public opinion was against the accused,” said Militar.

Last resort

The defense is not complaining about the ruling and, in fact, was even encouraged to seek reconsideration because of Judge Veloso’s fairness in handling the case, he said.

The decision mentions that Dumpit is a police officer 3, but both Dumpit and Supt. Paul Labra, in their testimonies, said he was a senior police officer 1 or one rank higher, at the time of the trial.

Among the prosecution’s witnesses was Janeth Badana, Go’s mother. (See related story, A1) Among the witnesses the defense presented was Dumpit himself.

Dumpit, in his testimony, told the court he was aware of his reputation for vigilante killings “but had nothing to say about it except that he was just doing his work as a police officer.”

The judge acknowledged that law enforcers “thrust their lives in unimaginable peril” because of their duties.

But Judge Veloso added: “Yet resort to wanton violence is never justified, when their duty could be performed otherwise. The right to kill an offender is not absolute, and may be used only as a last resort, and under circumstances indicating that the offender cannot otherwise be taken without bloodshed.” (Sun.Star Cebu)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 06, 2014.

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