Justice and fairness

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Monday, August 11, 2014


There were some deeply disturbing issues that came to my mind as I went through the views expressed in connection with the SPO1 Adonis Dumpit case. This is an interesting circumstantial confrontation between the “good” and “evil,” where the hand of God and the Bible are called to play separate roles in the eventual unraveling of the case.

By now, the Dumpit tale must have already been filed into the compendium of rough notes by socio-legal scholars and historians, taking it as a matter whose importance to our experience is simple but unique, if not one that is agonizingly a challenge to our moral values and our sense of justice, as against our desire to be fair to a fellow human being.

The judge of the trial court in this particular instance rendered a conviction on the accused police officer, who claimed that the incident was a matter of self-defense. Thus his killing of a young robbery suspect was not premeditated or attended with treachery. It was simply a case of a police officer pursuing a suspect in line with his duty as law enforcer or to maintain law and order.

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Just the same, it appears that the public in Cebu City is divided given the straight narration of the case. A good number of people expected the judge, who is a former president of a city university, to acquit him. But the judge convicted the law enforcer to the lesser crime of homicide, which means there was no premeditation or treachery involved in the act.

The judge believed that “there was no unlawful aggression and provocation on the part of the victim.” She said that the victim “merely ran away” when Dumpit accosted him.”

But on the part of Dumpit, when he was interviewed over GMA 7‘s Balitang Bisdak, he said that he just “responded” when the suspect fired a gun at him. That testimony did not seem to convince the judge.

Just the same, Dumpit expected an acquittal because his administrative case had been dismissed by the military ombusman. Besides, as a law enforcer, he was also well-advised to “always observe the rules when neutralizing suspects.”

Meanwhile, Dumpit is still considered a police officer by the National Police Commission (Napolcom). While he has already spent three years in jail, he is just considered to be on leave, and his name is still kept in the police roster.

It appears that the Napolcom does not see yet any ground to dismiss Dumpit. The police information officer noted that Dumpit has been in jail for three years and Napolcom had junked in 2011 the grave misconduct charge filed against him in relation to the killing of the robbery suspect in 2004. Thus, many expect him to be acquitted by the judge. But Dumpit was still convicted for a lesser crime.

Thus, as it stands now, the Dumpit case still hangs in the balance, but there is hope that the higher court might extend fairness to him, to fulfill the ends of justice.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 12, 2014.

Opinion

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