âOne of DOJ's bestâ: State prosecutor JP Navera passes away
This photo shows the Department of Justice office in Padre Faura, Manila.
Philstar.com, File

‘One of DOJ's best’: State prosecutor JP Navera passes away

(Philstar.com) - November 24, 2020 - 1:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — The state prosecutor who handled the case against former Army Major General Jovito Palparan, which resulted in conviction, has passed away.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra confirmed Tuesday the passing of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Juan Pedro Navera. He was 49.

“So very sad. He was one of our best,” Guevarra said. 

As a state prosecutor, Navera handled the kidnapping and serious illegal detention case filed against Palparan over the 2006 disappearance of University of the Philippines students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan.

In September 2018, Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15 convicted Palparan and his co-accused Lieutenant Colonel Felipe Anotado and S/Sgt Edgardo Osorio. The three were sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

One of the ‘few good men’

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, which acted as private prosecutors in the case, described him as a “principled, fair, no-nonsense, brilliant and diligent” lawyer and “quintessential professional.”

“He can be unforgiving and even cocky in his hard questions and grueling cross-examination. We were awed how he shattered Gen. Palparan’s testimony to smithereens on cross. It was a model even contrived moot courts in law school cannot match,” the private prosecutors said.

“Yet he was very amiable and self-effacing, reluctant to be in the spotlight. He was humorous in his own right and self-deprecating yet can throw a teasing jest at his colleagues,” they added.

The private prosecutors also said that Navera respected them and cooperated with them as co-equals.

“Yes, there are still ‘a few good men.’ We need more JPs. Even if only to mitigate the image of lawyers who are a disgrace to the profession and an embarrassment to society,” the NUPL lawyers said.

Other cases

Aside from securing the conviction of Palparan, Navera handled the case against Philippine Coast Guard personnel involved in the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman in 2013. The incident strained ties between the Philippines and Taiwan.

In September 2019, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 15 found eight Philippine Coast Guard personnel guilty of homicide over the fatal shooting of Hong Shih-Cheng in Balintang Channel in May 2013. 

Navera also handled the case against the police officers tagged in the killing of Korean national Jee Ick Joo. Jee was abducted from his home in Angeles City in October 2016 and was brought to Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police, where he was strangled to death allegedly by cops.

He was also a part of the first panel of state prosecutors handling the 2009 Ampatuan massacre. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Kristine Joy Patag

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