By Jel Santos
Former vice president Jejomar C. Binay hailed the dismissal by a Manila Regional Trial Court of an attempted murder case filed against a University of Makati (UMak) student and her family.
The former vice president represented pro nono Romalyn Gumapos, her sister Marleen Gumapos, stepfather Anselmo Degamo, and brother-in-law George Fernandez in his capacity as head of the UMAK School of Law Center for Legal Aid. Assisting him were lawyers Bernardine Madamba and Precious Pingol of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Manila-II Chapter; and lawyers Angel CGI Valero-Nuñez and Jewel D. Bulos from the UMak student School of Law. Romalyn is an UMAK College of Business and Financial Sciences (CBFS) student.
“I am glad that our first case was a success but more than that, I am happy that we are finally realizing our vision of having a Legal Aid Center,” Binay said.
“We envision these centers as hubs of knowledge and practice so we can continue to provide relevant programs to our students, and even to our external stakeholders,” he added.
Notably, this is the first case handled by the UMak Legal Aid Center in partnership with Integrated Bar of the Philippines Manila-II Chapter.
In a two-page decision dated March 5, 2019, Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina, presiding judge of the Manila RTC Branch 32, ordered the release of the accused after the prosecution manifested that it could not establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
“The private complainant PO3 Jegson Galang testified, among others, that he is now retracting his testimony given before this Court and that the incident subject matter of this case arose out of misapprehension of facts and misunderstanding between him and all the accused,” the ruling stated.
“In view of the tenor of the testimony of the private complainant, the public prosecutor manifested that the prosecution will not be able to establish the guilt of all accused beyond reasonable doubt and moved for the dismissal of the case. Finding the said motion to be well-taken, the same is hereby granted,” it added.
Binay said that when he accepted the case, the family had been in jail for seven months because they cannot afford to hire a lawyer to represent them in court. According to him, the family were also afraid because the principal complainant is a cop.