Kapag puno na ang salop

SENTINEL - Ramon T. Tulfo - The Philippine Star

Dr. Chao-Tiao Yumol should be made to account for shooting to death three persons inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus in Quezon City.

What he did was unforgivable.

To quote William Shakespeare, “It was murder most foul.”

But Yumol should have his day in court, so to speak, due to the circumstances leading to the double murder – the killing of former Lamitan, Basilan mayor Rose Furigay and her aide Victor Capistrano – and the killing of university security guard Jeneven Bandiala, which happened as he was making good his escape.

Furigay’s daughter, Hannah, who was supposed to get her diploma during the Ateneo College of Law’s graduation rites, was also wounded in the attack.

For every crime there is a motive, and people should look at Yumol’s motive before totally condemning him.

He could have become a psychotic because of what he went through. That is, if we listen to his story.

Yumol is an arch critic of the Furigays, whom he accuses of being involved in the drug trade in their town, and in graft and corruption practices as officials of Lamitan City, Basilan.

The Furigays, husband Roderick and wife Rose, have ruled Lamitan as mayor and vice mayor for 18 years one after the other, each one exchanging places as if playing a game of musical chairs.

The doctor said he survived three attempts on his life – one of them in Zamboanga City – that he attributed to the Furigay family.

The Zamboanga ambush was reported in The Manila Times on Dec. 14, 2020.

The report said Yumol was driving his car with three passengers on board when motorcycle-riding gunmen opened fire on the vehicle, but a bullet-proof curtain hanging by his side saved his life.

Yumol has also said that a man dressed in black approached him at his residence in Quezon City and hit his face with a hard object – he didn’t say if it was a gun – that made him collapse to the ground.

The man allegedly threatened Yumol saying, “Last warning mo na yan galing sa mag-asawang Furigay (That’s your last warning from the Furigay couple).”

The doctor had approached many people in government to report the alleged shenanigans of the Furigays, to no avail.

One of the officials that Yumol approached was then chairman Greco Belgica of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).

In fairness to Belgica and others concerned, he referred Yumol to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), under then secretary Ed Año.

The DILG filed cases against the Furigays with the Office of the Ombudsman. The cases are still pending.

Then DILG undersecretary Epimaco Densing said that “Spouses Mayor Rosita Y. Furigay and Vice Mayor Roderick Furigay may be held liable of committing Grave Misconduct, Gross Neglect of Duty, Conduct prejudicial to the best interest of Service and Violation of R.A. 3019 [Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act].”

In retaliation, the Furigays have filed more than 70 cyberlibel cases against Yumol.

Up until the Ateneo shooting on July 24, Yumol had been in hiding since January 2021 to evade eight pending warrants of arrest, seven for cyberlibel and one for indirect contempt.

Yumol said he was not a political rival of the Furigays, but only wanted to expose their alleged depravities as a concerned Lamitan resident.

Yumol has been criticizing the Furigays on social media.

In one of his Facebook posts, Yumol pointed to his car’s broken window and the bullet mark on his car after an ambush.

One of Yumol’s last posts on social media was a video on YouTube where he detailed all the alleged connections of the Furigays which, he intimated, were the reasons why they were never investigated.

Yumol’s real life drama could be compared to a movie starring the late Fernando Poe Jr., entitled Kapag Puno Na ang Salop (when the rice container is filled to the brim), where the main character avenged a series of oppressive actions that were done to him by his opponents.

Lest I be misunderstood, I am not condoning what Yumol did. What I’m saying is that what he did – rightly or wrongly – was obviously an act of desperation worth looking into by the authorities.

*      *      *

The cyberlibel cases filed against Yumol by the Furigays remind me of the libel and cyberlibel cases filed against me by some government officials.

I have criticized the officials concerned in my columns in other broadsheets.

This begs the question: Is cyberlibel necessary after a simple libel case has been filed in court?

Which stupid legislator authored the law on cyberlibel that separates it from the original libel law?

I’ve had numerous cyberlibel and libel cases filed against me at the same time in separate courts.

I can sympathize with Yumol for going into hiding because of the 76 cyberlibel cases in court filed against him by the Furigays.

At P10,000 bail for each cyberlibel case, that’s a total of P760,000 which, for a rural doctor who has not been allowed to practice his profession in Lamitan, is a humongous amount.

*      *      *

After reading what drove Yumol to do what he did, the Aranas Cruz Araneta Parker and Faustino Law Offices has volunteered to defend him in court gratis et amore.

The law firm is my legal counsel in most of my libel and cyberlibel cases, which were filed against me when I was a columnist in another paper.

“Probably, he committed murder because he was not in his right frame of mind at the time,” said Clint Aranas, one of the partners.

Temporary insanity is a strong defense in court for a person charged with a grave offense like murder, according to Aranas.



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