EDITORIAL - Insufficient evidence
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - January 14, 2015 - 12:00am

Journalist Nerlita Ledesma was buried yesterday with the police, it seemed, no closer to solving her murder. On the eve of her burial, the Balanga City Prosecutor’s Office ordered the release of one of two men arrested for the killing last week. The prosecutor cited insufficiency of evidence against suspect Inocencio Bendo.

A second suspect, barangay tanod Juan Fulo, remained in police custody as of yesterday, although probably not for long. Fulo was reportedly apprehended for his connections with Bendo. The barangay watchman was earlier implicated in an attempt on the life of Ledesma’s predecessor as president of a homeowner’s association. Feuding in the association is one of the angles being explored by investigators in Ledesma’s death.

The release of Bendo is a quick reminder to law enforcers that a crime is not solved with the apprehension of a suspect. Crime solution is achieved only when guilt has been established beyond reasonable doubt, when the perpetrator has been convicted and given appropriate punishment.

Law enforcers are under pressure to do more to solve the deadly attacks on scores of journalists. Failure to solve the killings is considered the biggest reason for the impunity that has turned journalists in this country into sitting ducks for anyone who doesn’t like negative press coverage or commentary.

Justice is not served, however, when fall guys are used to quickly declare a murder case solved. Pinning the blame on fall guys is even worse than leaving a murder case unsolved. It not only allows the perpetrator to remain free and continue committing murder, but is also an injustice to the innocent. Fall guys can only worsen impunity.

BALANGA CITY PROSECUTOR BENDO FALL FULO GUYS INOCENCIO BENDO JOURNALIST NERLITA LEDESMA JUAN FULO LEDESMA MURDER
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