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8 doomed convicts spared

January 21, 2000 · 

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Published in The Philippine Daily Inquirer
(January 21, 2000)

EIGHT convicts were spared the lethal injection when the Supreme Court commuted their sentences to reclusion perpetua, a jail term, of 40 years or less.

Of the eight, a father who raped his daughter four times and a guardian who raped his ward “a hundred times” escaped execution because of the prosecution’s failure to cite the father-daughter and guardian-ward relationship on the charge sheet.

The six who were convicted of murder had their sentences reduced because of the lack of aggravating circumstance that would justify the penalty of death.

The tribunal’s decisions on all eight cases were promulgated on Jan. 19.

Two of those convicted of murder, one Of whom is an Army sergeant, were luckier than the rest.

Sgt. Brigido Ringor, was found to be a mere “accomplice” in the crime and had his sentence reduced to 6-14 years in prison.

In the second case, the death sentence of Albert Nagum — a prisoner who stabbed another inmate, Aurelio Agustin Jr., 16 times. in January 1997 — was commuted to 10-17 years in prison after the murder charge against him was reduced to homicide.

According to the high court, the treachery in Nagum’s case could not be established, beyond reasonable doubt.

Rapists
One of the two rapists whose sentences the tribunal had commuted is from Taguig City and
the other is from Palawan.

The Taguig man raped his 17-year-old daughter, the second of nine children, at least four times from December 1996 to February 1997 at their house in Taguig.

He did not deny that he had raped his daughter, but claimed that the sexual relationship was consensual” and that the girl had “loose Morals.”

This, was the same argument employed by the last executed convict, Alex Bartolome, who was put to death on Jan. 4.

The man managed to escape execution because the prosecution had failed to indicate on the criminal information sheet that he was the father of the victim.

He had earlier drawn four death sentences, one for each rape.

“An allegation of filial relationship is essential because these two (minority and relationship) constitute special qualifying circumstances which, in accordance with the settled rule, must be alleged in the information and proven,” the tribunal said.

The man from Palawan raped his 12-year-old ward “a hundred times in a span of one year,” from January 1993 to January 1994.

The ward, her sisters and cousins had been under Villar’s care in Palawan.

But, again, the prosecution failed to state his guardianship, which the high court noted upon review.
Legal precepts
The tribunal said it based its decisions on the legal precepts that a person should be properly informed of the charges against him or her, and that a “filial relationship” should be contained in the charge sheet.

Three of the other murder convicts whose sentences were commuted were Sgt. Alejandro Magno, Ringor’s co-accused in the murder of one Bartolome Lizardo in Pangasinan in 1995; and Eugenio Adrales and Jessie Panao who, while drunk, stabbed to death a neighbor in January 1996 in Leyte.

Antonio Abubu was convicted of murder and three, counts of frustrated murder for shooting down one Julius Golocan and seriously hurting his wife and two children in Isabela in February 1996.

BY DONNA S. CUETO

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