Eduardo and Linda are poor farmers. They have five children, but only one live with them in their farm.
Junior, who has mentally slow, helps his parents with the household chores and tills the farm for them. He is 22 years old but his mind is several years younger. He never went to school. He kept repeating grade one but he never managed to pass it. Linda says he was a sickly child who had previously suffered a convulsion due to high fever. She blamed the fever for the mental disability of her child.
One day, Junior was the object of the town’s troublemaker. The troublemaker teased him and even threw him out of the carabao he was riding, kicking him several times when he dropped to the ground. Junior ran away from him because previously, the same troublemaker had thrown him off the banca and left him to swim in the icy river. After Junior finished the morning chores, he went to the direction of the town to play pool. On the way to town, he saw the town troublemaker again, coming toward his direction. Junior went the opposite side of the road to avoid him but the troublemaker followed him. Once in front of him, the troublemaker boxed him several times. Junior ran away but he followed him to box him again. After several blows, Junior remembered the kitchen knife in his pocket which he used that morning to cut banana leaves. He reached for the knife and defended himself.
The next thing he knew, he was already at the side of the road, with his bloodied hands, crying for help, and holding the lifeless body of the troublemaker. A barangay official came to him and lead him to the police station to voluntarily surrender to the authorities.
A complaint for Murder was charged against Junior. There were no known relatives of the troublemaker, so the Chief of Police stood as complainant in the case. Linda sought the services of a lawyer to help Junior. The Information indicted Junior of Homicide, instead of Murder. His bail was initially set at P 40,000.00.
Eduardo and Linda frantically called their other children to chip in for the bail. Having only raised half the amount, their lawyer moved for the reduction of the bail bond at P 20,000.00. Unfortunately, an order of the court informed them that the amount set for the bond was a mistake and it was changed to P 120,000.00, with the court saying that it would approve a reduction thereof to P 60,000.00. Since the spouses did not even have P 40,000.00, how could they have P 60,000.00?
Eduardo and Linda were lost without Junior. Having solely relied on him for the hard work in the farm, they want so much to have him home the soonest time possible. Mr. Complainant said he would have the case dismissed for forty grand. The spouses hurried to their lawyer to tell the good news. The lawyer just shrugged, instructing them not to do it.
Behind their lawyer’s back, the spouses paid P 30,000.00 to Mr. Complainant, with the promise that in the hearing the following week, the Judge will already order the release of Junior.
Hearing day came. Linda excitedly informed their lawyer of the arrangement she made with Mr. Complainant. The lawyer was devastated. The lawyer scolded Linda, telling her Junior will definitely not be released today or any day in the near future. There were no private complainants who can desist from the case to have it dismissed. Even then, Linda remained to be hopeful.
The case of Junior was called. Mr. Complainant was late. Junior’s lawyer asked for a second call so that Mr. Complainant can participate in the plea bargaining. The judge reset the case instead and told the lawyers to just submit the Plea Bargaining Agreement in the next hearing.
Linda could not believe what had happened. She waited with her lawyer for Mr. Complainant to arrive so that they can all go to the Prosecutor to talk on the terms of the plea bargaining. After forty-five minutes, Mr. Complainant arrived and all of them went to see the Prosecutor.
The Prosecutor was adamant with the only objective of setting Junior’s penalty at prision correcional, or not more than six years and one day. Junior’s lawyer asserted all the possible mitigating circumstances, which, if granted would set the minimum penalty at six months. The Prosecutor did not allow it. After all the negotiations, they settled with the penalty of two years four months and one day to six years.
Linda was shocked. Junior has been in jail for about five months yet so he had at least two years to spend in jail. She had honestly expected Junior to come home with her that day. She had even packed his things at the jail before leaving for court. She attempted to confront Mr. Complainant but the latter only told her that she should be happy that the penalty originally set at twenty years has been substantially reduced. Linda argued that he had promised a dismissal today, with Junior being released. Mr. Complainant did not even care to answer her.
Linda proceeded to their lawyer and cried her heart out. The lawyer could only listen to the woes of a very poor woman who had been taken advantaged of.
That amount she gave to Mr. Complainant cost them to sell three of their carabaos.