UMak student cleared of attempted murder: Binay wins first pro bono case for legal aid center
The Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) has dismissed the attempted murder case against a University of Makati (UMak) student whom former Vice-President Jejomar Binay represented in the first pro bono case handled by the university’s new legal aid center.
In a recent 2-page decision, Branch 32 Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina cited the prosecution’s move to withdraw the case against Ronalyn Gumapos and three family members after the complainant, Police Officer 3 Jegson Galang, retracted his testimony.
In retracting his testimony, Galang said the case “arose out of misapprehension of facts and misunderstanding between him and all the accused.” This meant the prosecution would no longer have evidence against Gumapos’ family.
“In view of the tenor of the testimony of the private complainant, the public prosecutor manifested that the prosecution will not be able to establish the guilt of all accused beyond reasonable doubt and moved for the dismissal of the case. Finding the said motion to be well-taken, the same is hereby granted,” the court said.
Ronalyn is a student of the UMak College of Business and Financial Sciences (CBFS), whose college secretary sought the assistance of the UMak School of Law Center for Legal Aid headed by Binay.
Ronalyn, sister Marleen Gumapos, stepfather Anselmo Degamo, and brother-in-law George Fernandez had been jailed for seven months when Binay took on the case.
Binay was joined by Bernardine Madamba and Precious Pingol of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Manila-II Chapter; and lawyers Angel CGI Valero-Nuñez and Jewel D. Bulos from the UMak student School of Law.
“I am glad that our first case was a success but more than that, I am happy that we are finally realizing our vision of having a Legal Aid Center,” Binay said.