REGIONAL Trial Court Judge Estela Alma Singco yesterday convicted a military officer for shooting to death his senior official in 2009.
Singco, of the RTC Branch 12, found Corporal Jesusito Bayang guilty of homicide for shooting Sgt. Romeo Mendez last Sept. 4, 2009. The judge sentenced Bayang to spend six to 12 years in jail.
“In this case, accused (Bayang) failed to sufficiently prove his claim of irresistible force or uncontrolled fear for his life,” read Singco’s 14-page judgment.
Defense lawyer Rameses Villagonzalo said they will file a motion for reconsideration.
Bayang shot dead Mendez inside the mess hall of the 7th Finance Service Unit at Camp Lapu-Lapu, headquarters of Central Command (Centcom) in Barangay Apas, Cebu City. Bayang was charged with murder, but the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor later downgraded the case to homicide.
Bayang testified in court that Mendez woke him up inside their barracks at 5 a.m. on Sept. 4, 2009. Mendez reportedly pulled his broken leg and told to clean the surroundings of the camp.
Bayang said he was with Private First Class Mark Anthony Lumapas, Rex Embolde and Edgar Delos Santos.
Bayang said he went outside to get a broom, but later returned since it was still dark outside and he could not see the trash.
When Mendez saw him returning inside the barracks, the victim got mad at Bayang. The convict said that Mendez went to their locker and he heard the cocking of the gun.
Bayang said he went to the mess hall to drink coffee, while Mendez continued berating him. The convict said he was about to leave when he heard Mendez slamming the table.
Bayang said he pulled out his gun and shot Mendez five times, hitting him in his neck, ear, left portion of his nape, and chest. He later surrendered to their military police.
Bayang said he never planned to kill Mendez, saying what he did was merely to defend himself from a possible attack by the victim.
In the judgment, Judge Singco rejected Bayang’s defense of self-defense. Bayang had already withdrawn from the victim’s violent behavior when he left their barracks and went to the mess hall and got a cup of coffee.
“The circumstances did not point to any actual or imminent peril to his life, limb or right. The reality or even the imminence of the danger the victim posed had ended altogether,” said Singco in her judgment.
The judge also turned down Bayang’s argument of self-defense, saying the five bullet wounds sustained by the victim no longer indicated an act of self-defense.
“Besides, if accused really feared that the victim would draw a gun to shoot him, accused could have easily disabled the victim by shooting his arm or leg considering the fact that he pointed his gun to the victim,” the judge said.
Apart from jail term, the judge also ordered Bayang to pay Mendez’s family members P38,405 as actual damages; P75,000 as civil indemnity; P50,000 as moral damages; and P20,000 as attorney’s fees.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 29, 2015.
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