Grieving clan seeks justice for slain kin
CANDELARIA, Quezon—Losing two family members in separate but violent ways was a cruel blow to the Emralino clan. But the tragic incidents have served as a unifying force, spurring the family into continuing their quest for justice.
Aina Emralino-Joson, the eldest among the five children of the late Candelaria Mayor David Emralino, said the deaths of her father and brother Jason Emralino have brought about three reasons why she and her siblings choose to remain strong.
“First, we know that our dad and Jason are now together in the company of our Lord. Second, strong love now binds the family, and third, it is quite reassuring that we have our loyal friends and relatives in our moments of grief,” Joson, a lawyer, said in an interview Friday.
David, a veteran politician, was gunned down inside a church compound here one Sunday morning in July 2009. He died in a hospital but his two bodyguards who were injured survived.
David had served as mayor for three terms but he lost when he ran for governor in 1998. He reclaimed his old post in 2001 and 2004 but lost to his former vice mayor in 2007.
On the other hand, 27-year-old Jason, the youngest among the siblings, was shot during a traffic altercation in Mandaluyong City on Dec. 29 last year. He died in the hospital a few days after and was buried on Jan. 9 beside his father in a private cemetery here.
According to Joson, they continue to seek justice for their father, adding that the suspect in his killing has been jailed but the mastermind remains free.
“And now, we will embark on another quest for justice for Jason,” she said. The police said a shootout broke out after Jason, a businessman who was driving a Land Cruiser, rear-ended another car, a Honda Accord driven by Exequiel Adora, owner of a security agency, who was with two other men.
Adora and one of his companions were also wounded in the shootout. The third man in the vehicle was unhurt.
The police have yet to determine who fired the first shot as there were no witnesses, but a paraffin test conducted on the man who survived showed that he did not fire a gun.
The Emralino family, the police said, refused to let Jason undergo a paraffin test when he was in the hospital. Joson, meanwhile, insisted her brother was the victim, saying that before he died, he told them that he had immediately apologized to Adora for bumping his vehicle.
“Lots of people can testify that my brother was kind and not a violent person,” added Joson.
She said her brother was armed but only “for self-defense” after the violent death of their father.
At the same time, she lamented that the police “filed [only] charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal discharge of firearms” against Adora and his companions.
Joson said that at the very least, the charge should have been “serious physical injuries,” which could “then be amended to homicide or murder” because her brother died.
She told the Inquirer that their family, through the Facebook page “Justice for Jason Emralino,” was searching for possible witnesses to the killing of her brother.
The Mandaluyong police earlier filed charges of illegal possession of firearms and illegal discharge of firearms against all four people involved in the case, including Jason.