[Statement] on the arrest of an 80-year old man who allegedly stole mangoes in Asingan, Pangasinan | CHR

Statement of CHR spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the arrest of an 80-year old man who allegedly stole mangoes in Asingan, Pangasinan

It is unfortunate that an 80-year old man has been sued for theft after picking mangoes from trees that, he asserts, was planted by himself. This incident, at the same time, highlights the importance of knowing one’s rights and the availability of legal assistance, especially for vulnerable and marginalized citizens.

Cognizant of the costly and protracted nature of litigation, the Commission on Human Rights hopes that alternative means to settle the dispute be explored, an amicable agreement be reached, and possibly a desistance of the charge filed given the circumstances of the complaint and condition of the accused.

In this incident, we equally recognize the commendable acts of the Asingan police in Pangasinan in handling the case, as well as the legal assistance rendered by the Public Attorney’s Office to 80-year old. We continue to assert the importance of constitutional guarantees for the accused, including the presumption of innocence, as well as all other rights related to upholding due process and the rule of law. In the end, we must remember that laws are in place not only to exact accountability from perpetrators but also to protect the vulnerable when needed.

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