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Sunday, August 10, 2014
DIME con quien andas, y te dire quien eres, my old man used to say. “Tell me who you cozy up to, and I'll tell you who you are.”
While on US vacation, former mayor Tomas Osmeña sent a text message saying he continues to support his former bodyguard: former SPO1 Adonis Dumpit. “I don't abandon my friends and Dumpit will always be one of them.”
Regional Trial Court Branch 6 presiding Judge Ester Veloso Wednesday found Dumpit guilty for homicide. He gunned down 17-year-old Ronron Go along a Tejero alley in 2004. The court slammed Dumpit a six to nine years, plus four months sentence. He has already served three.
“There was no unlawful aggression and provocation on the part of the victim. Go “merely ran away” when Dumpit accosted him.. Witness Glenda del Mar testified she saw the teenager raise his hands and shout, “Nay. help me!” There was no proof behind Dumpit’s claim a shootout had occurred.
Judge Veloso’s 27-page decision is summed up by Sun.Star public & standards editor Pachico A. Seares in one concise paragraph: “The court’s finding, which even the defense lawyer found brilliant stands: the cop killed a delinquent but helpless boy.”
To make sense of a senseless killing, flick back to February 2005.
Then Mayor Osmeña handpicked 18 awardees for the city’s charter day rites. He included his controversial close-in security guard, Dumpit, then necklaced with three killing cases before the Ombudsman, Inquirer noted. “Dumpit will get a P50,000 prize in taxpayers' money, too."
"I'll accept it, as I need the cash for my cases," said the man who'd been unfairly dubbed, as a “salvage” (summary killing) cop. He sprung Dumpit from the clink to "train police in marksmanship." Wait. There's more. Dumpit was cited alongside President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, NGOs, a university, a producer of Visayan films -- plus a clutch of Osmeña loyalists.
The mayor divvied up Arroyo's cash prize for police officials who, by then, had not solved 21 summary executions, by shadowy “escuadrones de la muerte.” The body count surged to 83 by the time the US State Department annual report on human rights tagged Cebu among “vigilante” centers.
Osmeña washed his hands of death squads. "I may have inspired hem," he shrugs. Nonetheless, he allocated P20,000 for every criminal "neutralized" or "permanently disabled." Did businessmen, as Cebu Daily News's Raymond Fernandez ask, chip in secretly?
"Time was when Charter Day awards were cherished by recipients," wrote Sun.Star's Bong Wenceslao. “Today, they've acquired the sheen of plaques sold on the sidewalks. One-man choices, they reflect Osmeña's ‘eccentricities.’"
“The situation after conviction is different,” explained retired former executive judge of Cebu City Regional Trial Court Meinrado Paredes. After sentencing, the presumption of innocence terminates. “So does the constitutional right to bail, as the Supreme Court ruled in the former Batangas governor Jose Antonio Leviste against the Court of Appeals case.”
The Supreme Court has adoped a “strict attitude” towards allowance of bail. “Allowing a convict to post bail should be ‘exercised with caution and only for strong reasons....It would cause frivolous and time-wasting appeals. This will make a mockery of our criminal justice system and court processes. Letting a convict post bail may destroy the deterrent effect of criminal laws,."
“Will Osmeña’s text bouquet from his vacation digs shred carefully crafted jurisprudence by the High Court? Will it lessen the pain of the 17-year-old kid’s family?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 10, 2014.