Convicting Dumpit: what ‘chilling effect’?

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


WILL the court decision convicting SPO1 Adonis Dumpit of homicide in the shooting to death of a suspected snatcher demoralize police officers?

Only if cops believe they must not be held liable for killing a suspect whether they observe rules of engagement or not.

RTC Judge Ester Veloso found evidence that in 2004 Dumpit shot to death the victim, a minor, at an alley in Tejero, Cebu City. Dumpit fired twice although the boy had raised his hands, calling for his mother. He missed but shot him again, in the back twice, tearing the victim's inside body parts. The judge rejected Dumpit’s claim he acted in self-defense. No provocation or aggression and the victim didn't fire any gun.

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No reason the ruling will give cops a "chilling effect," incidentally a term that should be given a rest.

True, a police officer in a tense and dangerous situation isn't expected to ponder deeply about whether he should fire away. But his training and experience should tell him when to shoot to kill. Police have no license to snuff out human life. They serve and protect, remember?

Execution

Ah but the victim was a "suspected notorious snatcher": did he deserve fairness as well? Death penalty can't be meted even to a convict of heinous crime. Extrajudicial killing of a suspect, with more reason, can't be justified.

Dumpit can ask the court to reconsider, then maybe appeal another adverse ruling. But unless the facts are overturned by other evidence, the court's finding, which even the defense lawyer found brilliant, stands: the cop killed a delinquent but helpless boy.

(paseares@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 07, 2014.

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