Binay wins!

Jojo Binay wins case as pro bono lawyer.

FORMER Vice President Jejomar C. Binay welcomed a Manila regional trial court order dismissing the attempted murder case against a University of Makati (UMAK) student and her family filed by a policeman.

Former VP Binay represented pro bono Romalyn Gumapos, her sister Marleen Gumapos, stepfather Anselmo Degamo, and brother-in-law George Fernandez in his capacity as head of the UMAK School of Law Center for Legal Aid. He was assisted by Atty. Bernardine Madamba and Atty. Precious Pingol of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Manila-II Chapter and Atty. Angel CGI Valero-Nuñez and Atty. Jewel D. Bulos from the UMAK School of Law.

In a two-page decision dated March 5, 2019, Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina, presiding judge of the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32, ordered the release of the accused after the prosecution manifested that it could not establish guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

“The private complainant PO3 Jegson Galang testified, among others, that he is now retracting his testimony given before this Court and that the incident subject matter of this case arose out of misapprehension of facts and misunderstanding between him and all the accused,” the decision said.

“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 order added.

Former VP Binay said when he accepted the case, the family had been in jail for seven months because they cannot afford to hire a lawyer to represent them in court. He added that the family were also afraid because the principal complainant is a policeman.

One of the defendants, Romalyn Gumapos, is a student of the UMak College of Business and Financial Sciences (CBFS). Binay said the college secretary of CBFS sought the help of the UMak School of Law Center for Legal Aid after being informed by one of Romalyn’s professors of her detention. 

The case is the first case handled by the UMak Legal Aid Center in partnership with Integrated Bar of the Philippines Manila-II Chapter.

“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.

“Through the UMak School of Law Center for Legal Aid, we hope to provide free legal help to people in need. Napakarami po ng gaya ni Roma na nakukulong kahit walang sala dahil lamang wala silang abogado na magtatanggol sa kanila,” he added.

Binay said aside from the Center of Legal Aid, the UMak School of Law also has other academic research centers each with its own focus and areas of expertise.

These centers are the Center for Human Rights, Center for Local Governance and Public Policy, Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, Center for Energy Studies, and Center for Law and Technology.

“We envision these centers as hubs of knowledge and practice so we can continue to provide relevant programs to our students, and even to our external stakeholders,” Binay added.