Jason Ivler denies guilt; victim’s camp satisfied but wants death penalty
Following a court ruling that convicted him of murder, Filipino-American Jason Ivler on Tuesday maintained that he was not guilty of killing the son of a former Malacañang official in a road rage incident in Quezon City in Nov. 2009.
This was after presiding judge Hon. Luisito Cortez of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 84 ruled that Ivler was guilty beyond reasonable doubt over the death of Renato Victor Ebarle Jr. in a traffic altercation on Santolan Road more than six years ago.
READ: QC court convicts Jason Ivler in murder of former Palace exec’s son
Ivler, who is facing life imprisonment and more than P9 million worth of compensation for loss, said that he was “somewhat” surprised by the court decision.
“I didn’t think the Arroyo administration still has the power to put me behind bars. I think this is as retribution to what happened to Mr. Nestor Ponce way back in 2004. For that, I apologize. But for this, I am not guilty,” Ivler told reporters in an ambush interview.
Ivler, who was accompanied by his uncle folk singer Freddie Aguilar, was referring to the death of former Malacañang adviser Nestor Ponce in a road accident in August 2004, where he was convicted of reckless imprudence resulting in slight physical injuries. Ivler was also charged for homicide over the same incident but the Supreme Court ruled that he cannot be subjected to trial for double jeopardy.
While noting that they were satisfied with the court decision and that the family has already moved on, Romi Ebarle, the victim’s uncle, said Ivler could not bring back the life of his nephew.
“Ok lang pero hindi niya na mabalik ‘yung buhay, ‘yun lang ang deperensya,” the older Ebarle said in an interview.
([The ruling was fine], but he cannot bring back [the life of my nephew], that’s the problem.)
Private counsel Romeo Alcantara said the camp was satisfied with the ruling, but added that they could have asked for death penalty if the law permits.
“Considering ‘yung dynamics ng kaso, we were satisfied na nadesisyunan within a period of almost five years, okay naman. Nagkakaroon lang ng papalit-palit ng mga judges, but we were satisfied,” Alcantara said.
(Considering the dynamics of the case, we are satisfied that the case was decided upon within a period of almost five years, that seems fair. There had been changes in the [presiding] judges, but we are satisfied.)
“We could have asked for death penalty but unfortunately it’s not available now. So we have to [be] content with what the law provides. ‘Yung (the) amount of damages is inconsequential. Ang ano dun (what matters here) is justice have been served. ‘Yung pamilya medyo nabunutan ng tinik,” he added.
While Ivler’s camp may still appeal the decision, Alcantara said they are confident the courts will affirm the conviction.
Echoing Alcantara, Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption chairman Martin Diño said: “Sayang, sana may death penalty eh. Kung may death penalty sana nahatulan ng bitay ‘to.”
(Too bad, death penalty is no longer implemented. But if it were, [Ivler] could have been sentenced to death.)
Ivler shot Ebarle, son of a former undersecretary serving under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo, inside the latter’s sports utility vehicle (SUV) at close range after nearly colliding with the SUV he was driving on Santolan Road.
Ivler was identified by the police after the SUV he used was traced to his stepfather Stephen Pollard, a British economist at the Asian Development Bank. He is the son of Pollard’s wife, art patron Marlene Aguilar from a previous marriage.
Ivler fled the crime scene and a manhunt operation was launched against him. Murder charges were filed against Ivler days after. On Dec. 23 that year, a Quezon City judge issued an arrest warrant without bail for Ivler.
Ivler went into hiding for two months before being arrested on Jan. 18, 2010 inside his mother’s house at Blue Ridge A Subdivision in Quezon City after engaging arresting officers in a shoot-out.
In May 2013, Ronan Masacupan of the National Bureau of Investigation told Judge Luisito Cortez of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 84 that the pistol found at Aguilar’s house where Ivler was arrested was the same firearm used to shoot Ebarle Jr. CDG
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