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Abadilla 5 may soon be free–De Lima

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Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. FILE PHOTO

The “Abadilla 5,” languishing in prison for years now, could finally be home for Christmas.

A recommendation to grant executive clemency to the five convicted killers of Lt. Col. Rolando Abadilla in 1996 is just awaiting the signature of President Aquino.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said she hoped the President would act favorably on her recommendation.

“I’m hoping that it would be acted upon in time for Christmas. I think there’s a chance. But of course that’s the prerogative of the President,” De Lima said in an interview at Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.

Malacañang, for its part, said the recommendation was being reviewed.

The Department of Justice’s Board of Pardons and Parole recommended the commutation of the sentences of the five convicts in November 2011, but De Lima pushed  for conditional pardons instead.

In a commutation of sentence, a convict has to acknowledge guilt. No such requirement is called for in a conditional pardon, but it could be revoked if the convict commits another crime, according to De Lima.

“To me there’s a moral certainty about the lack of reasonable doubt,” she said, explaining the main reason for her recommendation of an executive clemency to the President.

De Lima cited the fact that some justices dissented in the Supreme Court decision upholding the conviction of the accused.

She also recalled that when she chaired the Commission on Human Rights, questions about the credibility of the witness nagged her.

“For some justices, the guilt of the accused was not established beyond reasonable doubt. There is doubt of their guilt,” she said. “There are circumstances pointed out in the dissenting opinion that create doubt on the correctness of the verdict up to this very day. Those accused have professed their innocence. They’re very passionate about this.”

The high court affirmed in February 2011 the Court of Appeals’ decision upholding the conviction of  Lenido Lumanog, Cesar Fortuna, Joel de Jesus, Rameses de Jesus and Augusto Santos by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.

The five vehemently insisted they were innocent and accused their police captors of torturing them into admitting the crime.

Abadilla, an intelligence chief of the defunct Philippine Constabulary who gained notoriety as an alleged torturer of political prisoners during martial law, was killed while his car was stopped in traffic on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City on June 13, 1996.

The communist-led hit squad Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB) claimed responsibility for the killing. They turned in Abadilla’s watch to “running priest” Fr. Robert Reyes as proof of the deed.


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Tags: Abadilla 5 , DoJ , Justice System , Leila de Lima , Rolando Abadilla


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NYKIOQEDTUD4FPPPVHP6XMFNEA Raul

    Abadilla 5 is the Victim of ignoramus of then Judge Peralta.

  • Luthmar

    About time they are liberated.  It should have been Marcos, Ver and Enrile in their places.
    Finally, justice has prevailed.  The Marcoses should compensate them for their incarcerations.

    • RomyLitz

      So, let the search for the real killers begins.

  • regie

    it is really a relief that sec. de ;ima is the doj secretary. kudos to you mam…

  • $23228448

    they did the country a service ….release them now

    • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

      I don’t think becoming a killer of another killer outside the confines of the law is good all around.

      Imagine when Pedro kills Juan telling them they did the world a favor only to be killed by Jose since the former is also already a killer.  An un ending circle. Perhaps the law is the proper solution to end retribution and circle of violence.

      • RomyLitz

        But our laws can easily be convoluted or manipulated by the justices or judges themselves, so vigilantism has positive effects on the mean justifies the ends principle.

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        Ah, I remember you RomyLitz.

        I can never seem to agree with you that the ends will never justify the means. Thank God that is not the norm, otherwise, he who has might shall rule.

      • $23228448

        he who has might shall rule. Is that not what we have with the political dynasties.   

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        Not when it is mixed with ‘ends justifies the means,’ really.

      • RomyLitz

        The sources of “might ” can only be two, either by self-devilish effort or God’s as in David’s case. As what I said, the justice system in the Philippines is still politically polluted ( needs purging)  or unworththy of emulation with the considerable presence of “behest” appointments and the corresponding “embedded gratitude” to the powers that be. What can you say, if indeed the Abadilla 5 were if fact pawns by Marcos and his cronies?

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        What can I say, I believe in the law, and I do not prescribe to ‘ends justifies the means.’

        I cannot claim it as perfect, but for the most part, it does work.

        If you care to discuss, find a SC GR / jurisprudence and lets discuss if it was done by the law, or corrupted.

        “What can you say, if indeed the Abadilla 5 were if fact pawns by Marcos and his cronies?”

        What if they were not.

        They CAN raise it to the highest court in the land, right? I mean, in the interest of justice, if you really believe you are innocent, then you WILL fight until you reach the last bastion of law. But did they? Yes. (GR 182555)

        Can you imagine nth courts saying the same thing? Perhaps if they all say the same, could it be that the possibility of the 5 being guilty is POSSIBLE?

        Perhaps there were no witnesses?

        Cesar F. Espiritu (who was driving his car ahead of the victim).

        Aurora Urbano (Metro Aide).

        Ani C. Icot (house gardener of the Abadilla family)

        etc.

        perhaps they are all in cahoots to corrupt the law?

        or perhaps that they really are guilty?

        Me, i dunno, i havent reviewed the case.

      • RomyLitz

        if these three witnesses have untenable weight to the prosecution process why is the Sec. of Justice mulling over giving a conditional pardon to the Abadilla 5? Anyway, with the prerogative of the president of the Philippines as in USA, to give clemency and pardons, there really an ineluctable miscarrigae of justice per year hence the vigilantism is the automatic equalizer. If there’s no pardon and clemency, there will be no chance for miscarriage of justice.

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        “if these three witnesses have untenable weight to the prosecution process why is the Sec. of Justice mulling over giving a conditional pardon to the Abadilla 5?”

        perhaps a miscarriage of justice?

        of the 7 accused 5 were convicted. and these were based on not 3 but more witnesses. Perhaps pressure from the left forces our sympathetic government, but then that’s just a hypothesis. After all, they have done that before, as the killers of Nick Rowe still fight for the same pardon/clemency.

        “Anyway, with the prerogative of the president of the Philippines as in USA, to give clemency and pardons, there really an ineluctable miscarrigae of justice per year hence the vigilantism is the automatic equalizer.”

        Agreed.

        “If there’s no pardon and clemency, there will be no chance for miscarriage of justice.”

        Ummm..?

  • ApoLapullapu

    At the time of the convicted accused in the Abadilla murder’s arrest, the Police badly needed scapegoats because the victim was a bigwig;.If there were dissenting opinions  in the Court, I would count it as a basis for a reasonable doubt.

  • RomyLitz

    If it is a pardon, then double jeopardy isn’t violated. We can still look for the real killers and mastermind.

  • Magsasaka

    if its organized crime PNP will always take on the fall guys because organized crime is protected by politicians, AFP and PNP.

    • m1600

      genious ka no , Baka kasama ka sa mga NPA na nag ambush?

      • Magsasaka

        tama at ikaw naman ay mangmang hehehe

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZCAM7I4NK2VZ47UBFICNXJOTJU Herminio

    Salute to Sec. De Lima for rendering justice to Abadilla 5. Sana ma-compensate sila sa malaking pinsalang ginawa sa kanila ng Phil brand of justice. 

  • abbaj

    na frame-up lang ang limang ito. kawawa sila talaga. si abadilla ang isa sa pinakamasamang tao noong panahon ng martial law. marami siyang pinahirapan bago pinatay. i hope his soul (if he has one) is burning in hell.

  • wakats

    I AM CONFUSED

    No less than the secretary of justice entertains doubts on the validity and sanctity of a final SC decision on the abadilla 5.

    What kind of justice system we have if the secretary of justice herself said “To me there’s a moral certainty about the lack of reasonable doubt,”  even if the SC, a collegial body acting in en banc session, affirmed the conviction.

    This is tantamount to slaps on the faces of the SC as the highest tribunal of the land and placing their credibility/legality in question. 

  • Isagani Gatmaitan

    About time… Pray that God gives these  innocents the blessings and grace to move on with their shattered lives. On the other hand,  I pray that the policemen who coerced them into false confessions be thrown into outer darkness… “where there is much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth…”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WYX4ZTAV4BUGW2RIMT45CPYBGA Pio Gante

    siguradong maka-pangyarihan pa rin ang nagpa-tira kay kabise at malamang na pag nagkataon made-deplete ang vcf

  • ruben_bush

    dapat lamang palayain na sila.  umamin na ang abb na sila ang gumawa ng pagpatay kay abadilla, bakit naman itong mga walang sala ang pinahirapan, tinorture para lang umamin???
    Palayain na sila!!!  Mabuhay si Secretary deLima.  

  • wawa2172

    May panalo si Laila dito sa Abadilla 5. The suspects are just fall guys at dapat pakawalan. However wala pa ring panalo sa high profile cases si Laila, dapat focus sa cases not on the camera and media he he he.



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