Ev­i­dence-based in­ves­ti­ga­tion

Sun Star Bacolod - - Opinion -

IN forestry, tri­an­gu­la­tion is the use of more than one tech­nique/source of in­for­ma­tion to cross-check an­swers, com­par­ing and com­ple­ment­ing in­for­ma­tion from dif­fer­ent sources or gath­ered in dif­fer­ent ways.

It also in­volves hav­ing a team—mul­ti­dis­ci­plinary— mem­bers with the abil­ity to ap­proach the same piece of in­for­ma­tion or the same ques­tion from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives.

I’m fa­mil­iar with the process. I led a team on com­mu­nity forestry projects at Barangay Bagong Si­lang, Sal­vador Bene­dicto. We col­lected data from men and women, dif­fer­ent age groups, the geo­graphic dis­tri­bu­tion of those near and far-flung forested ar­eas.

I also use the tech­nique in con­flict res­o­lu­tion in my court-an­nexed me­di­a­tion in find­ing com­mon grounds—or in­ter­est-based—ap­proaches. Lit­i­ga­tion ex­penses (very ex­pen­sive for both par­ties) and length of time (both will have to in­vest time for con­tin­u­ous trial, sac­ri­fic­ing work time). Or sac­ri­fic­ing the wel­fare of non-par­ties, es­pe­cially that of chil­dren).

And now we read the nar­ra­tives of dif­fer­ent par­ties on the cul­prits be­hind the Sa­gay 9 Mas­sacre.

Na­tional Demo­cratic Front-ne­gros spokesper­son Frank Fer­nan­dez iden­ti­fied four for­mer com­mu­nist rebels as per­pe­tra­tors of the in­ci­dent.

Ac­cord­ing to Chief In­spec­tor Robert Man­sueto, Sa­gay City po­lice chief, said that the three used to be NPA mem­bers while the other one worked as an in­tel­li­gence as­set of the Philip­pine Army.

Man­sueto said they will in­clude the four in­di­vid­u­als tagged by NDF in their list to be in­vited for ques­tion­ing, in con­nec­tion with the Sa­gay in­ci­dent.

In the mean­time, the PNP filed mul­ti­ple mur­der charges against sus­pects, Rene Man­lan­git and Ro­ge­lio Arquillo, who are or­ga­niz­ers of the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Sugar Work­ers, and seven John Does.

Fer­nan­dez claimed that its ac­cu­sa­tions are based on “ex­haus­tive in­ves­ti­ga­tions” of the NPA Rose­lyn Pelle Com­mand.

Re­ally? Did it in­clude ad­mis­si­bil­ity of hearsay, au­then­ti­ca­tion, rel­e­vance, priv­i­lege, wit­nesses, opin­ions, ex­pert tes­ti­mony, iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and rules of phys­i­cal ev­i­dence? Can their stan­dards of ev­i­dence meet the le­gal bur­den of proof in a given sit­u­a­tion?

Per­haps Fer­nan­dez for­got the hor­rors Kam­pa­nyang Ahos in Min­danao; Op­er­a­tion Miss­ing Link in the South­ern

Ta­ga­log re­gion; and Olympia in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion.

The CPP’S cen­tral com­mit­tee noted that “the Ahos cam­paign per­pe­trated griev­ous vi­o­la­tions of the in­di­vid­ual rights of the sus­pects, the stan­dards of due process and the rules of sci­en­tific ex­am­i­na­tion and weigh­ing of ev­i­dence. The cases were for­mu­lated, in­ves­ti­gated, judged and con­cluded through meth­ods and pro­cesses that were ex­tremely sub­jec­tivist, hap­haz­ard, ar­bi­trary and de­fec­tive.”

Ju­di­cial rules of ev­i­dence are af­ter all not forestry tri­an­gu­la­tion where the test of truth is less rig­or­ous. The

NPA and the PNP’S should lead from rea­son­able sus­pi­cion to pre­pon­der­ance of the ev­i­dence, clear and con­vinc­ing ev­i­dence, or be­yond a rea­son­able doubt pre­sented in an ev­i­dence-based court of law.*


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