Escalante EJK victims ask: Dismiss judge, probe solon

THE families and victims of the extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in Escalante City, Negros Occidental are seeking the dismissal of the judge who junked the three murder and one frustrated murder cases of First District Representative Melecio Yap Jr.

Lawyer Luke Espiritu, counsel for the victims, said in a statement Sunday that the dismissal of San Carlos City Regional Trial Court Judge Danilo Amisola of the cases of Yap is “a sorry attempt to cover the truth with a purple robe.”

“Never had Lady Justice been blinded by such crude attempt to deprive of justice the five victims of EJKs in Escalante from 2007 to 2013, which we strongly believe was masterminded by former mayor Yap, who has now increased his power as congressman. While the blindfold of Lady Justice is supposed to symbolize her impartiality, it does not mean that she has to be blind to the truth,” he said.

Espiritu maintained that they have eyewitness accounts, admissions from former assassins, and documentary admissions pointing to Yap as the perpetrator of the crimes against the known supporters of former Escalante mayor Santiago Barcelona Jr.

He added that the Ombudsman found probable cause to indict Yap for the murders.

“We feel saddened by how Judge Amisola presided over the case,” he added.

Espiritu said the circumstances starting last January 13, when the cases were received by the San Carlos City RTC, are “questionable.”

One of the circumstances he cited is that the judge ruled to nullify the findings of the Ombudsman on February 17 when he has not yet received the opposition from the City Prosecutor and the Ombudsman.

Espiritu claimed the judge received the Ombudsman and City Prosecutor’s opposition only on February 21 and 22, respectively.

“How come Judge Amisola ruled on probable cause when there was no manifest error, grave abuse of discretion, or prejudice to speak of on part of the prosecution?” Espiritu asked.

“With these glaring circumstances surrounding Judge Amisola’s handling of the five murder cases, we are forced to file an administrative case against him before the Supreme Court next week for gross ignorance of the law and for violating the Code of Judicial Conduct,” Espiritu said.

He added that they will also seek the assistance of the members of the House of Representatives to look into the cases and seek justice for the victims in Escalante City.

Yap had denied the allegations, stressing that the killings were perpetrated by the New People's Army. He also said the local court’s ruling vindicated him. (PR)

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