3 fiscals differ in ruling on shopper’s death

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Monday, February 17, 2014

THREE Cebu City prosecutors have resolved the case on the mauling of shopper Mario Alfie Ducayag, who died inside the Metro Colon’s security office in April last year.

But they differed in their findings. Why did it happen?

City Prosecutor Nicolas Sellon, in his order, found enough evidence to charge former mall security personnel Mauricio Doblados Jr., and Jeffrey Aquino with murder, which is a non-bailable case.


He did not include Boyles for lack of evidence.

Sellon reversed the decision of Assistant City Prosecutor Gandhi Truya to indict Doblados and Aquino with homicide.

He supported his decision by citing an old Supreme Court jurisprudence that says murder is committed by a person who attacked another person with treachery, resulting in death even when the attacker had no intention to kill.

The jurisprudence is the United States vs. Candelaria case, in which the court spoke through the first Filipino Chief Justice Cayetano Arellano, who was appointed to the SC during the American colonial rule.

The victim’s family wants Doblados, Aquino, and Boyles to be charged with murder, saying they conspired to kill him.

“We didn’t expect such change,” said Ducayag’s sister, Marie Shantylle. “We will question why Boyles was not included this time.”

Ducayag was accused by the store’s security personnel of stealing a pair of slippers. But investigation showed that the victim already paid for the items.

In his autopsy report, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 medico-legal officer Rene Cam said Ducayag died from traumatic neck injuries, suggesting foul play was involved.

Last June 6, 2013, the NBI 7 filed a murder complaint against Doblados, Aquino and Boyles before the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Sellon and Truya agreed in dropping the charge against Boyles, saying there is lack of evidence that the former house detective participated in the mauling.

“Although he was inside the Security Office when the mauling of Ducayag unfolded right before (Boyles’) very own eyes, such fact is not enough to tag him as conspirator as he had not even performed any act or uttered any word during the entire mauling incident that contributed to the realization of the criminal design of respondents Doblados and Aquino,” said Sellon.

Truya said he found “no proof that when Doblados ordered Aquino to handcuff Ducayag, the two consciously sought that advantage, or that they had the deliberate intent to use this advantage, in order to make Ducayag defenseless.”

He resolved the motion for reconsideration separately filed by Doblados, Boyles, and Aquino.

The respondents filed the motion after Assistant City Prosecutor Anna Lou Cavada found probable cause to charge them with murder in October 2013.

Aquino’s lawyer, Salvador Solima, said they will file a petition for review before the Department of Justice after they will receive a copy of Sellon’s order.

He said his client should not be charged with any criminal complaint because he only handcuffed Ducayag upon the order of Doblados.

“I respect Sellon’s decision,” he said. “But I admire Truya. My client is still in Cebu and he will not run away.”

For his part, Truya said the mauling incident was “not premeditated,” but rather was a “product of excessive and violent means to subdue a suspect which to them appears to be resisting their arrest.”

“While the death of Ducayag is never justified and the infliction of those harmful blows on his face are unlawful, absent the qualifying circumstance of treachery and abuse of superior strength, evidence premeditation, and any other aggravating or qualifying circumstance the case that can arise from those wrongful act can only be homicide,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Metro Retail Group said in a press statement they support the Ducayag family in their “quest for justice.”

The Ducayags have filed a civil suit against the company for damages. It is pending before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 23.

“The rumors that we have already settled the case with Metro are not true,” said Marie Shantylle.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 18, 2014.

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