By Alex P. Vidal
Can the two feuding members of the Supreme Court work together harmoniously?
Can Floyd Mayweather Jr. be an effective basketball player if he is allowed to play in the PBA with Manny Pacquiao as his coach in the team?
This is the dilemma our higher court is facing today now that Ilonggo lawyer Francis H. Jardeleza has been appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as associate justice of the Supreme Court.
Jardeleza’s ascension to the higher court had to pass through the proverbial hole of the needle after his nomination was earlier blocked by no less than Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, who chaired the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC).
JBC recommends to the President the final names in the shortlist.
Jardeleza’s name had been scratched out earlier due to the opposition of Sereno, a fellow former faculty member of the University of the Philippines College of Law.
The Ilonggo jurist had to fight tooth and nail before he was given the appointment paper by President Aquino last August 19, shortly after winning his case in the Supreme Court that compelled the JBC to reinstate his name again.
It’s always difficult to convict an accused in a criminal case because the prosecutor has to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
If there is doubt, you acquit, is the standard legal maxim of court judges.
This seemed to be what happened in the case of murdered rebel returnee, Romeo “Ka Romy” Capalla of Oton, Iloilo.
The case police filed against suspect Julie Cabino and four other John Does, was recently dismissed by the provincial prosecutor’s office for lack of evidence.
“From all indications, it would show that respondent Cabino was not the same person who acted as back-up in the killing of Capalla. The identity of the perpetrator is a must to secure criminal conviction,” ruled Prosecutor Bernabe Dusaban.
If Gabino, et al were not the real McCoys, who killed Ka Romy?
It’s disturbing that a high-profile personality like Ka Romy can’t get justice after being murdered like an animal.
If this can happen to a former top-ranked rebel who has returned to the fold of the law, what are the chances of other lowly rebel returnees who are also facing a similar danger in their lives?
Ka Romy, 65, was shot to death by two gunmen on March 15, 2014 in front of the Oton public market.
The assailants were reportedly backed up by three motorcycle-riding cohorts. The five fled going to Tigbauan town, witnesses said.
Ka Romy died from two gunshot wounds on the head.
He was a commander of the Corazon Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Komiteng Rehiyon Panay in the late 1970s to the early 1980s.
Ka Romy was arrested by authorities in August 2005 for his alleged involvement in the setting on fire a construction firm’s facility in Guimbal, Iloilo in 2004.
After spending 32 days in detention, he was released when the court ruled there was no sufficient evidence to pin him down.
Ka Romy was the brother of retired Archbishop Fernando and was the director of the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), a private firm that helps small farmers in Panay Island, at the time of his murder.
PFTC buys agricultural products such as banana chips, muscovado (brown) sugar and ginger tea, and exports these to Europe and the United States.