‘I am not biased’-A A +A
Saturday, September 28, 2013
TWO Cebu media personalities, Sun.Star Cebu public and standards editor Pachico Seares and ABS-CBN TV Patrol anchor and The Freeman columnist Leo Lastimosa, were ordered by Cebu City Regional Trial Court Judge Raphael Yrastorza Sr. to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for insinuating the court was biased.
This has to do with the libel complaint then Cebu governor and now third district Rep. Gwen Garcia filed against Leo Lastimosa, who was later convicted and meted a fine of P6,000.
That reminds us ordinary mortals never to greet a judge, “How are you?” He may answer, “Fine, P6,000.”
I had the rare chance yesterday to appear in court with Cebu Media Legal Aid lawyers and media personalities Frank Malilong, Elias Espinoza and Rose Versoza for respondent editor Pachico Seares and to give moral support for Leo Lastimosa.
Seares was represented by lawyers Joan Baron and Lovely Parado of the JP Garcia Law Office, while Lastimosa was ably represented by my University of the Visayas Gullas Law School professor Celso Espinoza. Even lawyer Bebs Almario, a former Cebu broadcaster who is now a Provincial Board Member in Southern Leyte, came all the way from his province to Cebu to support Leo.
Everybody was warm to each other. The courtroom was warm too.
I heard it myself because I was there. Judge Yrastorza declared, “I am not biased.” No one among the lawyers spoke a word when he said that, especially those who know him.
That statement should dispel any doubt on Judge Yrastorza’s integrity. He has handed down a verdict which is subject to appeal. Let the appeal take its own course.
Let the higher courts rule and as the wordsmiths of old say, may the better angels of our nature prevail.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 28, 2013.