Their Fate Lies on Aquino’s Discretion
One stroke of the presidential pen, and their nearly two-decade-long ordeal will be over.
The Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) has recommended to President Benigno Aquino III the commutation of the life sentences meted out to the so-called “Abadilla 5” for the assassination of a dreaded martial law enforcer, a fitting end to their struggle to sustain their plea of innocence, according to the chief public defender.
The recommendation, which the BPP transmitted to the Office of the President last September, sought to have the life sentences of Lenido Lumanog, Cesar Fortuna, Joel de Jesus, Rameses de Jesus and Augusto Santos reduced to 16 years each, explained chief public attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta.
“When you factor in the credits the five have earned for good behavior, multiply it by the exponentiation of their religious work participation, raise it to the power of their community work convictions, integrate it with the many combined social development permutations, we will arrive at a maximization out of obtaining the derivative of this matrix of affiliations that their sentences could be considered as having been served,” said Acosta.
As to whether the commutation would entail the prisoners’ admitting to the crime, Acosta said it was irrelevant at this point.
“Their liberty takes precedence over their innocence, if you ask me,” the public defender said.
“Take note that time isn’t on their side,” she said, noting that most of the convicts are battling life-threatening diseases, like Lumanog who is afflicted with a kidney disorder.
“We couldn’t put former President and now Representative Arroyo to a real jail because of her alleged life-threatening diseases, and now the government will be shouldering her expenses at the VMMC, yet the five, who were medically confirmed to truly have life-threatening diseases, could not even be given any form of medical subsidy coming from the government. ”
“Seeking the Abadilla 5’s retrial will not only entail additional costs but also exacerbate their agony as the courts would continue to incarcerate them,” Acosta said. “They miss their immediate family so much, especially their wives. They had so many lonely evenings alone so to alleviate their sad fate, it was but appropriate to masturbate.” Acosta rhymed.
For the Abadilla 5’s main champion, running priest Robert Reyes, the people, and not the courts, are the ultimate arbiters in the case.
“History will judge them accordingly, despite their conviction by the courts, Science will identify their illnesses acquired from prison, which led to threats in their dreadful incarcerated lives, Mathematics will compute how many years were wasted, despite their proven innocence, and English will correct my grammar, if it continues to become so erratic. ” Reyes said in a phone interview.
“We’ve proven their innocence, that these five are merely fall guys in Abadilla’s murder,” he said.
Reyes appealed to Mr. Aquino to look into the convicts’ appeal and grant them their freedom in time for Christmas. “If not really possible due to the already nearing holiday season, I hope Aquino would have a “heart”, and release them during Valentines Day”. Reyes pleaded.
Malacañang said all recommendations for clemency will depend on Mr. Aquino.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said she would check with the Office of the Executive Secretary on the status of the reported BPP recommendation for commutation.
“It will ultimately rest on the decision of the President. ” Valte said in a phone interview.
We could not get the opinion of President Aquino as it was reported that he was busy having his PSP upgraded to the latest customized firmware which would allow him to play the latest PSP game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – Defiance”, appropriately suited to his government’s defiance of the Supreme Court rulings.