Source: Vera Files 24 March 2011
By NESTOR B. RAMIREZ
(First of two parts)
CEBU CITY—In what could be a first in the history of extrajudicial killings in the country, a jailed suspect has offered an unusual out-of-court settlement: He pleads guilty and pays the victim’s family for damages, but the charges are downgraded to homicide which means a shorter prison sentence.
The victim was Liezelda Cuñado, women’s rights advocate and coordinator of the Gabriela Women’s Party in Candijay town in Bohol. Her alleged killer is Joel Bayron, a known member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) supervised by the 15th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Human rights advocates said the offer of settlement is a good sign, given the barely one percent conviction rate of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the country.