Where is justice?

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Thursday, March 6, 2014


THIS article could as well be headlined, “Where is Truth?” For that is also the thrust of this exercise, which concerns the search for what really happened in my hometown, Balamban, a municipality on the opposite side of the city.

There was that case of the killing of two innocent youths who were said to have been “kibitzing” in a gambling game of “bulitse,” which uses the old Spanish cards featured in the “Kuliliseng Hari” of long ago during wakes.

But what I am trying deal with now is about the truth of the case involving the town police.

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A sikad-sikad driver was reported to have attempted to rape a middle-aged candle vendor.

Knowing that the man, who reportedly perpetrated the attempted rape, comes from the same barangay of Baliwagan on the northern side of town, a barangay councilman allegedly arrested the suspect and brought him to his place for investigation.

Sometime later the councilman was reportedly arrested by the police, led by one who was also a resident of the same barangay.

He came to arrest the councilman reportedly for illegal detention, among other charges, including direct assault. I am not quite clear what other crimes the councilman was charged with after he allegedly manhandled someone who resisted arrest.

Being a barangay official, the case was brought to the attention of the mayor. The matter will be subject of a more thorough inquiry that should invite a deeper look into the acts of the police and barangay officials.

It is said that the alleged “rapist” was a person who has an abnormal mental condition.

But some members of the barangay told me that if the man, Waway, has a mental problem, why was he granted a permit to drive a sikad-sikad, which would endanger the life of his passengers? That put the town’s traffic office on the spot.

This brings us back to the matter of the official conduct of the town’s police. Why was their reaction appearing like an “over-kill” to concerned observers?

What would have been a most likely reaction of the police was to undertake an investigation and invite the barangay official to explain his side of the case as a matter of courtesy to one who should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, a principle ingrained in our legal process.

At any rate, I was told by certain sources of the municipal government that the police appeared quite in a hurry to arrest the barangay councilman for the reported specified counts of criminal complaints without having a clear basis for it.

If this is so, where then is justice against the backdrop of a circumstance that seeks the truth?

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

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