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Friday, November 16, 2018
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Sanchez: Evidence-based investigation

Nature Speaks

IN FORESTRY, triangulation is the use of more than one technique or source of information to cross-check answers, comparing and complementing information from different sources or gathered in different ways.

It also involves having a team -- multidisciplinary -- members with the ability to approach the same piece of information or the same question from different perspectives.

I’m familiar with the process. I led a team on community forestry projects at Barangay Bagong Silang, Salvador Benedicto. We collected data from men and women, different age groups, and geographic distribution of those near and far-flung forested areas.

I also used the technique in conflict resolution in my court-annexed mediation in finding common grounds or interest-based—approaches. Litigation expenses (very expensive for both parties) and length of time (both will have to invest time for continuous trial, sacrificing work time, or sacrificing the welfare of non-parties, especially that of children).

And now we read the narratives of different parties on the culprits behind the Sagay 9 Massacre.

National Democratic Front(NDF)-Negros spokesperson Frank Fernandez identified four former communist rebels as perpetrators of the incident.

Police Chief Inspector Robert Mansueto in Sagay City said that three of them used to be NPA members while the other one worked as an intelligence asset of the Philippine Army.

Mansueto said they will include the four individuals tagged by NDF in their list to be invited for questioning, in connection to the Sagay incident.

In the meantime, the Philippine National Police filed multiple murder charges against suspects, Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, who are organizers of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, and seven John Does.

Fernandez claimed that its accusations are based on “exhaustive investigations” of the NPA Roselyn Pelle Command.

Really? Did it include admissibility of hearsay, authentication, relevance, privilege, witnesses, opinions, expert testimony, identification and rules of physical evidence? Can their standards of evidence meet the legal burden of proof in a given situation?

Perhaps Fernandez forgot the horrors Kampanyang Ahos in Mindanao; Operation Missing Link in the Southern Tagalog region; and Olympia in the National Capital Region.

“The Ahos campaign perpetrated grievous violations of the individual rights of the suspects, the standards of due process and the rules of scientific examination and weighing of evidence. The cases were formulated, investigated, judged and concluded through methods and processes that were extremely subjectivist, haphazard, arbitrary and defective,” CPP’s central committee noted.

Judicial rules of evidence are after all not forestry triangulation where the test of truth is less rigorous. The NPA and the PNP’s should lead from reasonable suspicion to preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing evidence, or beyond a reasonable doubt presented in an evidence-based court of law.

(bqsanc@yahoomail.com)


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