Court acquits rights lawyer, wife in unjust vexation case filed by local police chief
MANILA, Philippines — A Nueva Vizcaya court has acquitted a human rights lawyer and his wife who were both accused of uttering unsavory words towards a local police chief while retrieving the personal effects of an assassinated National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant.
Both Atty. Edu Balgos, of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer-Nueva Vizcaya, and wife Rina were separately charged with unjust vexation.
In the case of Rina, based on the complaint filed by Aritao police station chief Police Chief Inspector Geovanni Cejes, she allegedly uttered “bakit niyo pinapakialaman ang mga gamit ng biktima [Why are you tampering with the things of the victim]” and “alam niyo na, baka plantingan pa nino yan [Maybe you will plant evidence]” while inside the police station. She also allegedly badgered Cejes with a congressional summon.
On the part of her husband, Cejes alleged that Atty. Balgos yelled at him over the phone and accused him of human rights violations and also threatened him with a congressional summon.
In acquitting the two, the court said the prosecution left out crucial details such as the approximate time, place, and other circumstances where the supposed incident happened that caused distress to the police officer.
The court also pointed out that the testimony of the witness for the prosecution is consistent with the testimony of Rina.
The police officer said Rina was at the police station to witness the investigation of the case of the slain NDFP consultant when she uttered the unsavory words. But the witness said Rina’s purpose of going to the police station was to get the belongings of the NDFP consultant. Rina said when she went to the police station, she was asked to wait outside. The prosecution witness said she saw Rina sitting outside. The witness also said she did not hear Rina accuse the police of planting evidence on the clothes of the deceased NDFP consultant.
Another witness attested that Rina was asking the police why the belongings of the slain consultant were opened without the presence of the family. The witness said Rina told the police to check their process.
On the part of Atty. Balgos, the police officer admitted on cross-examination that he was vexed when the lawyer said “hindi mo alam ang ginagawa mo.[You do not know what you are doing.]”
The court said no other evidence was presented by the prosecution.
“By reason thereof, there is no factual basis to hold [both] the accused criminally liable for unjust vexation,” the court said.
“In view of the above findings, the Court does not find any factual and legal bases as well to hold the accused civilly liable. The Prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to warrant an award of damages in favor of the complainant,” the court added.
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