SPO1 Adonis Dumpit is an ordinary policeman. He is no Andal Ampatuan Jr. or Ruben Ecleo Jr. His exploits against criminals is known, though. He used to track down suspected criminals, either capturing them or killing them in legitimate encounters.
So, why are the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Ombudsman after his neck? They want to pin him down on an incident that Dumpit said was in line of his duty as a policeman.
In last week's hearing on the murder case against Dumpit, DOJ and Ombudsman lawyers argued over who will handle the prosecution of the case. Asst. City Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro, resident prosecutor in the sala of RTC Judge Ester Veloso, argued that the City Prosecutor's Office should prosecute Dumpit. But she eventually announced her inhibition from the case, saying she is close to Dumpit, who was her instructor in her firearm proficiency training.
Now, even without the consent of Janeth Badana, mother of Dumpit’s alleged victim Ronron Go, DOJ officials filed a manifestation with the Supreme Court asking the High Tribunal to transfer the venue of the trial to Metro Manila.
But why did they do this? Did DOJ people believe that the complainant cannot obtain justice before our local courts? Is Dumpit that influential that he should be tried in another place? Section 5, Article 7 (Judicial Department) of the 1987 Constitution lays down the powers of the Supreme Court.
Paragraph 4 states: “Or a change of venue or place of trial to avoid miscarriage of justice.”
And what is miscarriage? It means an “unfortunate event or issue or an undertaking, failure to attain a desired result or reach a destination. A situation in which a court of law punishes someone for a crime that he/she did not commit.”
Possible grounds that may push the court to grant the transfer of the venue of the trial: when there is only one judge in the place where the crime was committed and he is perceived to be biased; if the life of the witness or witnesses are threatened and in danger; if one of the parties is influential and powerful and is capable of intimidating witnesses; and if the other party has helped in the appointment of the judge.
Transfer to Cebu of the cases involving killings of mediamen like Edgar Damalerio of Pagadian Ciy and journalist Marlene Esperat of Sultan Kudarat has basis because the masterminds were influential politicians in the area.
Dumpit has no political backer, except perhaps Mayor Tomas Osmeña. But is Tomas that powerful to influence the decision of Judge Veloso?
In fairness to the mayor, he is not exerting any pressure on judges here. Had he done so the case could have been dismissed by the Ombudsman for the Military. And if by chance Tommy helped in the appointment of Judge Veloso as judge (I don't know if they are relatives), all Veloso had to do was inhibit herself from the case.
I agree with defense lawyer Pedro Leslie Salva who said that the move is an insult to Cebu judges. Abi na lang nga mahadlok silang Dumpit. Wa man gani sila mahadlok ni Ecleo.
Besides, holding hearings on the case in Metro Manila would be an additional financial burden on the part the accused and the complainant. If the case will be tried here, media can always monitor the progress of the case,