Court finds town Vice Mayor ‘not guilty’ on assault raps

By Francisco “Ompoy” Pastrana/ PNS

ANTIQUE, PHILIPPINES- “Not Guilty.” Such was the verdict reached on the direct assault case filed against a town vice mayor in the Province of Antique. The acquittal came after over four years of Case proceedings on said direct assault charges as filed against the vice mayor by a fellow official of the town.

Docketed as Criminal Case No. 4010-V, acquitted was Valderamma Vice Mayor Christopher Maguad Sr. His accuser was Councilor Josefino Castillon.

“This is not an ordinary isolated incident, it involves a Vice Mayor and a Sangguniang Bayan (SB) member of the same municipality, government positions which honourable and dignified men are qualified and ought to possess however exceeded their human temperament and engaged in a scuffle which is usually committed by ordinary men on the street which ultimately led them to the present case which could have been avoided had they prudently obeyed and followed their convictions due to their status,” the Court in its opening statement went.

Castillon in his accusation said the vice mayor “wilfully, unlawfully, feloniously and spontaneously” attacked and assaulted him. The incident as reported supposedly took place in the evening of November 21, 2007. The councilor’s wife was his principal witness along with a member of the Valderamma police. The assault, he told the Court, caused him an injury in his left eye.

The Vice Mayor for his part claimed self-defense backed by a number of witnesses. Self-defense that was apparently prompted by Councilor Castillon who as established by the Court “was drunk or under the influence of liquor at the time of the said incident.”

“His state of intoxication was established by no less than his best friend and fellow member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Valderamma in the person of SB Melchor Jauod who testified that the complainant was drunk when he left his (Jauod’s) house …..,” excerpts of the 21-paged Court Decision went. “Complainant’s state of intoxication at the time of the incident also explains why he assaulted the accused without the sufficient provocation on the part of the latter, for the person who is drunk is inevitably prone to react irrationally and violently due to diminution of self-control.”

And the Court’s findings did not stop there as it went on to call the complainant’s evidence “not only incredible but also assaults human experience.”

To note, Councilor Castillon in the course of the case said the incident with the vice mayor occurred after an earlier incident with a known vice mayor’s supporter who challenged him to a fight. The councillor said a samurai sword was even used and there was an oral threat to kill him. Good thing, he said, that he was able to disarm his assailant and grab the sword. The Court though did not buy his story.

“…this story is not only incredible but highly unbelievable, unless the complainant is a martial arts expert but not a single evidence showed that he is such an expert,” the Decision said. Such as the Court stressed, “It is a well settled rule that testimony to be believed should not only come from the mouth of a credible witness but the testimony must in itself be credible.”

Over-all, the Court found no merit on the charges and accusations hurled against the vice mayor while adding, “since all the elements of a valid self-defense are present, accused therefore is exculpated from any criminal liability.”

The Decision was penned by Judge Felixberto Barte of the 3rd Municipal Circuit Trial Court in Patnongon, Antique. Vice Mayor Maguad was aided by counsel, lawyer Guillermo Alcantara.