Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa, the President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), is a big disappointment. He loves publicity so much, he doesn’t think before he issues public statements.
On 17 November 2020, lawyer Eric Jay Magcamit was shot dead in Narra town in Palawan.
A police sergeant suspected of involvement in the fatal ambush of Magcamit was later arrested by police authorities. The sergeant eventually identified his eight alleged “cohorts.” They were all charged for the murder of Magcamit.
On 27 November 2020, the last “cohort” identified by the sergeant surrendered to police authorities in Palawan. He said he surrendered because he feared for his safety and thus, he needed police protection. Charges were also filed against him.
On the same day, a news report quoted a press statement made by Cayosa regarding the killing of Magcamit.
“We appreciate and commend the swift action (sic) and all those who helped bring the murderers before the bar of justice,” Cayosa’s statement read.Initially, it seemed like Cayosa was only riding on the publicity generated by the arrests made by police authorities.
On closer examination, however, it looks like Cayosa was so desirous of free publicity that he could not care less about the way he described the suspects in the Magcamit case in his press statement.
Section 14(2), Article III of the Constitution mandates that “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved. xxx.” Cayosa ignored that constitutional mandate and went on to describe the suspects as “murderers” even without a prior judicial finding of guilt.
Although one of the suspects identified his supposed cohorts, and another suspect surrendered to the police, Cayosa has no valid basis to summarily conclude that all nine suspects were Magcamit’s murderers.
It’s possible that the suspect who identified his “cohorts” was forced to make the confession.In addition, the “cohort” who voluntarily surrendered to the police said he gave himself up to seek police protection because he was afraid of losing his life, and not necessarily because he was involved in the murder of Magcamit.
Why did Cayosa take it upon himself to override the Constitution and declare the Magcamit case suspects guilty of murder even without a trial before a court of law?
From the available indications, Cayosa doesn’t care about the Constitution, and that he is interested only in reading his name in the newspapers or seeing himself in the television news.
Earlier on 11 November 2020, Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Maria Theresa Abadilla was shot dead by her own clerk of court, who killed himself after he shot the judge. Soon thereafter, Cayosa issued a press statement condemning the incident. His statement was quoted by the news media and for some time, he was basking in the publicity.
In manifest contrast, Cayosa refrained from making any press statement last October 2020 when Court of Appeals Associate Justice Marilyn Lagura-Yap found herself at the paying end of a hefty fine imposed by the Supreme Court.
The fine, which is equivalent to Yap’s one-year salary as a justice of the Court of Appeals, was for her failure to submit the required “certification of caseload” back in 2011 when, as a judge of the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Cebu, she applied for a post in the appellate court.
Despite Yap’s failure to submit that required “certification of caseload,” the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the agency which screens and processes nominees and appointments to the judiciary, still recommended Yap to the Court of Appeals. In 2012, then President Benigno Aquino III appointed Yap to the appellate court.
Undoubtedly, the JBC should have been scored by the Supreme Court for recommending the appointment of Yap even if the latter did not submit the required “certification of caseload.”
How come Cayosa did not issue a press statement against the JBC for that faulty recommendation it made in 2011? Well, back in 2011, one of the members of the JBC was IBP President Atty.
Maria Milagros Fernan-Cayosa, who happens to be Cayosa’s wife.