Makati judge axed for lowering penalty vs 2 in US Marine slay
The Supreme Court has dismissed from service a Makati City Regional Trial Court judge for downgrading the penalty against two men in the killing of US Marine Major George Anikow in 2012.
In a 13-page decision, the high court meted the ultimate administrative penalty of dismissal from service on Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 59 Judge Winlove Dumayas for his July 2, 2014 verdict that downgraded the charge against the two – Crispin de la Paz and Galicano Datu III – from murder to homicide.
The high court also ordered the forfeiture of his retirement benefits with prejudice to re-employment in government. Dumayas is supposed to retire this year.
Dumayas was dismissed after he was found guilty of gross ignorance of the law and gross misconduct for rendering the decision without citing the required factual and legal bases and ignoring applicable jurisprudence.
“It is clear that Judge Dumayas failed to hear and decide the subject case with the cold neutrality of an impartial judge,” the high court said in a decision made public Monday.
During the investigation, Dumayas argued that he cannot be held civilly, criminally and administratively liable for any of his official acts “no matter how erroneous, as long as they act in good faith.”
He also apologized for failing to quote in his decision the testimony of a witness stating that the accused surrendered to the police.
Dumayas sentenced the two to suffer imprisonment of up to six years and eventually granted their application for probation.
“He granted the separate applications for probation of Dela Paz and Datu, effectively sparing them from suffering the penalties they rightfully deserve. The pattern of said acts appears to be deliberate, calculated, and meant to unduly favor the accused,” the Court ruled.
“His complete disregard of settled rules and jurisprudence on self-defense and of the events that transpired after the first fight, despite the existence of testimonial and physical evidence to the contrary, in the appreciation of the privileged mitigating circumstance of incomplete self-defense casts serious doubt on his impartiality and good faith,” the SC stressed in the ruling promulgated last March 6 but obtained by reporters only Monday.
The high court also took note of the 13 other administrative cases filed against Dumayas from 2003 to 2016.
“The Court takes the aforementioned incidents as evidence of respondent’s stubborn propensity not to follow the rule of law and procedure in rendering judgments and orders. This definitely has besmirched the integrity and seriously compromised the reputation, not only of his court, but more importantly, of the entire judicial system which he represents,” it added.
Records showed that Anikow, then a Makati Bel-Air resident, and the four men figured in a brawl on the night of Nov. 24, 2012, after the latter demanded access through a gate going to Rockwell complex. A reportedly drunk Anikow was beaten and stabbed to death./ac
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