Early this morning, the Palace of Justice, the palace where the Regional Trial Court in Region VII is located was rocked by shooting incidents done by a Canadian citizen named John Pope, who was facing a trial for a complaint filed by Dr. Rene Rafols, John Pope’s neighbor. Among those injured was Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Maria Theresa Casiño and among those killed were Dr. Rene Rafols, and Atty. Juvian Achas. John Pope, the gunman, gunned down by the responding police.
John Pope before the shooting spree and in fact, was arrested in 2011 for illegal possession of firearms but he was able to post bail with 800,000 pesos. The charges filed by his neighbor, Dr. Rene Rafols had something to do with his arrest for illegal possession of firearms as the complainant said that he (John Pope) always harassed not just the complainant but also his neighbors. It was said that John Pope through his letters to GMA 7 Cebu anchor Bobby Nalzaro was frustrated with the crawling justice system of our country.
John Pope was supposedly to be deported but had not been executed because of several charges that he was facing before the shooting spree.
The shooting incident should have not been occurred had the securities of the Cebu’s Palace of Justice never neglected themselves of maintaining the security in spite of lack of security equipments like metal detector. I myself can assert that the security of Cebu’s Palace of Justice has been lax compared with other government or especially private-owned establishments. When I entered at the Cebu’s Palace of Justice in September 2011, their security personnel never even inspected my body or my valuables I brought and they just entered me with ease as I had to attend a court hearing for our project in Political Science subject.
Another, John Pope had a reason on why he did of shooting the people at the Palace of Justice that cost three lives including himself as our judicial system really stinks on making urgent verdict especially if both complainants comes from the lower economic status or non-Filipinos. That complacency on making urgent verdict for a specific case frustrates many people and some of them have to do extra judicial means of resolving a case like gunning down a complainant or respondent. I think we need to overhaul our judicial system where our judges does not bombarded by several cases that have to be heard in a day like for example of having a jury system like in US where a jury is the one will decide the verdict while a judge just facilitate an entire court procedings.
Condolences to the families of Dr. Rene Rafols and Atty. Juvian Achas.