Fighting for truth, justice
even if Leila says otherwise
By BERTENI “TOTO” CATALUÑA CAUSING
Author of the book entitled “Simplified Libel Law in the Philippines”
What the author intelligently believes in as justice and truth must be fought even if it appears to many as wrong, even if Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Nonnatus Caesar R. Rojas say otherwise.
This resolve has become firmer after the Supreme Court granted the Urgent Petition for the Writ of Amparo filed by this author. (See the petition at this link: . See the Writ of the Supreme Court at this site: .)
There is this boy, 16-years-old, that is being used by the NBI as a witness to the alleged plotting of the assassination of Ruperto Martinez, the mayor of Infanta, Pangasinan.
It presented an affidavit and a supplemental affidavit that the NBI claimed to have been taken from the boy claiming that the kid was beside his father at a meeting in November 2011 at El Pescador Beach Resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan. The affidavits claimed that in that meeting Congressman Jesus Celeste told Governor Amado T. Espino that he will eliminate Mayor Martinez over the black sand mining. (See the first affidavit of the child in this link: . See the second affidavit in this link: .)
The same affidavit also said that the boy was also present along with his father Jaime Aquino in May of 2012 at a farm of Engineer Reynaldo Mencias when the latter plotted to kill Kagawad Jovencia Gasmin of Barangay San Juan of Alcala, Pangasinan. In June of 2012, Gasmin was murdered.
The same affidavit also said that the kid claimed to have witnessed Mencias telling Governor Espino to kill Bayambang Councilor Renato Sabangan.
Based on the personal knowledge that this author got and the documentations he has done, he has concluded with strong conviction that the NBI has made itself look “boo-boo” before the public when it gave full credit to the alleged affidavits of the boy.
With this firm belief that the affidavits are nothing but lies and improbabilities, this author filed the petition for the writ of amparo for the father and the mother of the boy.
A day after the filing of the said petition, the Supreme Court granted the writ of amparo and ordered the Court of Appeals to hear the petition.
Let it be asked: is the grant by the Supreme Court of the writ of amparo justified?
The answer is yes.
First, let it begin by stressing that this petition for the Writ of Amparo was filed for the sake of life, liberty and security not only of the minor child who is at the vortex of this controversy. It was filed also for the sake of the life, liberty and security of the minor’s father, mother and their entire family as well.
Now, there is nothing in the Rules of the Writ of Amparo that limits its application only to the detained persons. It also applies to the persons who are not detained but whose life, liberty and security are also threatened.
There is also nothing in the Rules of Amparo that limits application to public offices or officers. (See Rules on Writ of Amparo at this site: .)
To the contrary, Section 1 of the Rule of Amparo expressly includes applications to those threats and violations committed by private individuals or entities. That is the reason the petition impleaded AKAP BATA–CARITAS, a private entity but it was the one reported to have taken actual custody of the minor child and is still asserting custody over the boy.
To be more specific, this petition for the writ of amparo was filed because there are threats to the life, liberty and security of minor Jestin Imus Aquino and threats to the life, liberty and security of his father Jaime G. Aquino, the minor’s mother Ester I. Aquino, and their entire family.
Now, the key word for every writ of amparo to issue is “unlawful.” The writ issues if the acts or omissions of the respondents are “unlawful.”
Here, the public respondents, particularly the NBI, committed unlawful act of abusing its powers and discretion in deciding to conduct official investigations and use the affidavits that were the results of the investigation to file a criminal complaint for murder against Governor Espino, Congressman Celeste and newsman Jaime, who also publishes the weekly Pangasinan Northern Star.
As well be discussed hereunder, the NBI agents and officers involved abused their powers.
The fact of insufficiency of the allegations to prove the murder plot that they claimed are very clear on the face alone of the “tanong-sagot” affidavits they took from minor Jestin I. Aquino. Any prosecutor who would examine the affidavits will say that the same affidavit appears pregnant with improbabilities and lies.
By using the affidavits that appear pregnant with lies and improbabilities to file a murder case is no less than persecution. And persecution is no doubt unlawful.
The NBI did not even verify who this person named Manuel “Manny” Tolentino who brought the child to AKAP-BATA – Caritas is. It is noted that an officer of the NGO, Pastor Ruel Garcia, wrote the NBI to take sworn statements from the boy because the kid revealed “personal knowledge” about three killings.
For its failure to do that diligence required for the NBI to be sure it is not unduly prejudicing innocent persons, the otherwise-top investigating body of the country committed this unlawful omission.
This Manny Tolentino has a pending non-bailable case of serious illegal detention with multiple rape of a minor daughter of his helper, pending with Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Branch 261. A warrant of arrest was already issued. (See the warrant of arrest at this link: .) The court gave an opportunity to Tolentino to prove his innocence by ordering a reinvestigation.
The NBI has its files of persons with criminal cases. People get NBI clearances and many of them would be shocked to find out their names listed as accused. So that it is unbelievable why they did not know of the character of this Manny Tolentino.
Clearly, the NBI never bothered to validate the allegations of minor Jestin I. Aquino.
Look at these:
1. The NBI imprudently gave faith in the claim of the boy that he graduated valedictorian from Mapandan Elementary School in the school year 2010-2011.
A certification from the school principal said that Jestin only got an average grade of 82.05% during his sixth grade and that the valedictorian is John Aaron A. Lalangan. (See the certification issued by the school principal at this link: .)
Did the NBI bother to verify this? The Form 137-E of Jestin I. Aquino shows that he got an average of 78% in Grade 1, 80.62 in Grade 2, 77.4% in Grade 3, 76% in Grade 4, 76% in Grade 5, and 82.05% in Grade 6. (See the Form 137-E issued by the school at this link: .)
2. The NBI imprudently gave faith in the claim of the boy that he was present at El Pescador Beach Resort in Bolinao, Pangasinan in November of 2011 where he alleged he heard Congressman Jesus Celeste as telling he wanted Mayor Ruperto Martinez of Infanta, Pangasinan killed.
Did the NBI prudently exercise their powers by validating first the claim considering that the plot happened more than a year before Mayor Martinez was murdered on December 15, 2012?
3. The NBI imprudently gave faith in the claims of the boy that he was also present when the planning to kill Barangay Kagawad Gazmin occurred in the farm of Engineer Mencias.
Did the NBI verify to know that Reynaldo is the father of Alcala Vice-Mayor Ryan Paolo Mencias, who in turn is running for mayor and his opponent is Manuel “Manny” Tolentino of Liberal Party?
Why is it that the NBI filed a case of murder only on the killing committed against Mayor Martinez?
Why the NBI did not file any case on the killings committed against Gazmin and Sabangan?
Was the NBI interested only in the case of Mayor Martinez?
4. The NBI also did not bother to verify whether the minor was telling the truth when the boy claimed that his mother Ester and father Jaime separated from each other in 1999 and that the boy claimed in an Inquirer report that he had not seen his mother since he was 6 years old.
The mother has not left the Philippines ever since. The Bureau of Immigration certificate will show that she has not gone abroad ever since.
5. The NBI also did not bother to verify whether the minor was telling the truth when the boy claimed that his mother Ester is a teacher.
The fact shows that his mother is only a housewife and has not graduated with a college degree.
6. The NBI also never bothered to verify against the habit of life that no father would ever bring his minor son to any meeting will be an agenda to kill a person.
7. The NBI also never bothered to verify against the habit of life that no congressman or governor would discuss a slay plot in the presence of a minor or a person not their trustee.
There are other improbabilities and lies and this author wishes to expound on it in a memorandum that the Court of Appeals require to submit in due time.
These circumstances of reckless disregard committed by the NBI are aplenty and these are sufficient to form as a PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE of unlawful acts or omissions of the NBI.
Now, talking about AKAP BATA-Caritas, its acts of taking Jestin I. Aquino in their custody as a foster parent is also unlawful. Clearly, Akap Bata-Caritas took extraordinary interest in Jestin I. Aquino while thousands of street children roam the streets without father or mother in tow.
What was its motive?
That act becomes clearly unlawful because they admitted that it knew already that Jestin I. Aquino had a mother and a father yet AKAP BATA-CARITAS did not bother to contact even the mother.
Additionally, in its bid to legalize their hold of minor Jestin I. Aquino, AKAP BATA-CARITAS conspired with a DSWD officer in filing a petition for involuntary termination of parental authority before the Manila RTC. (See a copy of the petition at this link: .)
This NGO and the DSWD even did not bother to inquire from the parent, the mother or the father, to validate the claim that the kid was indeed abandoned and maltreated.
The omission in doing so makes the unilateral action of the DSWD and AKAP BATA-CARITAS unlawful.
Until now, the parents of Jestin have not received any subpoena for the alleged petition. The father knew of this petition only after the RETURN of the NBI and the DOJ was received.
Now, why is it that DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman intervened so that the petition for involuntary termination of custody by the parent be filed in court? (See the letter of Dinky Soliman at this link: .)
What is in this case that even the top official of the DSWD was so interested in ensuring that the minor is taken custody by a private entity under the direct supervision and control of the DSWD?
NOW, the presumption of parental authority is lodged in a natural parent, the father or the mother.
If the State, in the person of the DSWD, wants to deprive the father or the mother of the parental authority and responsibility, THE STATE HAS THE BURDEN OF PROOF.
However, it is clear that the only evidence presented by AKAP BATA-CARITAS is a mere affidavit of the kid that he was maltreated and abandoned by his father.
For failure to discharge its duty to prove that the presumption of custody by the parents must be lost, it necessarily follows that the acts of AKAP BATA-CARITAS and DSWD are nothing less than unlawful.
Coming now to the threats.
The threats have been present because until this very moment this is written, threats to assassinate Jaime Aquino for using his child against politicians continue to exist.
These threats are the reason that until today, Jaime Aquino and his family are carefully watching their back and their moves.
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