A week ago today, the entire nation was shocked as more than forty were injured by what the Philippine National Police has tagged as a grenade attack on the last day of Philippine Bar Exams. On that fateful day, two lost their limbs, countless others were injured by shrapnel while one was viciously tagged by the media - in a not so shocking display of media irresponsibility in reportage - as the culprit of the attack.
On the 26th of September, 2010, Jed Carlo Lazaga, a 4th year Law Student of the University of San Jose - Recoletos de Cebu, and a member of Central Bar Operations team, was mauled by group of still unnamed persons belonging to a certain fraternity and forcibly made to admit that he was the one who lobbed the explosive device on a crowd of wellwishers. Jed, belongs to fraternity but did not represent such fraternity while volunteering as a member of the USJR BarOps 4th Sunday team. In his 4 years of Law School , he has been a consistent volunteer in the Philippine Bar Exams supporting the Law Graduates/Barristers and Reviewees at the Recoletos de Cebu; his school records would also show that he is one of the top performing students in his batch.
I was tuning in to the radio here in Cebu -since the national media did not seem to cover it- when I first heard of the blast. From what I've heard, dozens were injured, but thankfully none from Cebu was hurt until I called Atty. Mae Elaine Bathan, Assistant Dean of the USJR School of Law. She told me that one of our students was picked up by a fraternity and repeatedly mauled and brought to the police station to admit to something he did not do.
At the station, no police officer was present while these unnamed fraternity members were forcibly trying to make him admit to lobbing the explosive. Eventually, a police officer did arrive, when the group of fraternity men were asked what their business was at the station, they left without saying a word. Atty. Bathan had to rush to the police station to fetch Jed, at the station, the police officers admitted to her that they do not even know how to make an affidavit. Atty. Bathan as well as members of the USJR Faculty and Staff who were there in Manila assisted Jed at the station in making an affidavit-complaint. Here is his testimony:
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After making the affidavit, the USJR Faculty & Staff along with Jed Lazaga went to their hotel. Jed took the flight black to Cebu City later in the evening.
On the 27th of September, I was at the University to give a lecture in the undegraduate class handled by Atty. Bathan as she was still in Manila. I saw Jed, he seemed fine, he even attended his classes. As I gave a short break to the undergraduate class, I went to the Law Department, I saw Jed utterly frail with bloodshot eyes, it was there I was told that ABS-CBN released his name as a suspect in the blast; the report even showed his identification cards which were recovered by the PNP earlier that day from a masked man who is now a so-called witness claiming Jed is the perpetrator. Ironically enough, earlier on the 27th of September, a high ranking police officer called Atty.Bathan telling her that Jed's wallet has been recovered; considering that the wallet is already in police custody, somebody from the PNP must have told the media about the wallet, then this masked witness surfaced and tagged Jed as the bomber. I was really angry with the media and the police -more with the media- that they did not check and verify the source of their information. They failed to mention and even check that Jed was a victim of a mauling incident where his wallet was taken from his person a few minutes after the blast.
After a short 2-3 minute airtime tagging Jed as a suspect, his name has been viciously and maliciously connected with the blast, along with the University. Media should have been more responsible and checked their sources, they should have exercised restraint. However, media is not one to think twice about getting a scoop, especially such as this one.
As lawyer and an alumni of the University of San Jose - Recoletos, I firmly believe in Jed Carlo Lazaga's innocence. I do not believe that any graduating Law Student would dare do such a dastardly deed on fellow law students. If ever is really the bomber, he has so much to lose. Which brings to mind what his motives would be. There would be none. He was there as a volunteer, to assist our University's Barristers, he did not even make himself known to members of his fraternity who were there.
Check the motive. There is none. As stated by one Jed's classmates in a note by the very same title, which I shall repost here, succinctly states the lack of any possible motive on Jed's part:
JED CARLO LAZAGA'S MOTIVE:
by Edgardo S. Zafra, Jr.,
Being a 4th yr. Law student, we could already somehow surmise that he is already well versed with Criminal Law and we could also assume that he was already able to read a lot of cases involving crimes and its perpetrators... Adding to this supposition is the comment of the Dean of USJ-R College of Law that he is one of the Top brass students in USJ-R...
Now, after reading and knowing that Jed is well versed with Criminal Law, crimes and its perpetrators and also being a Top Brass student, here's a mind bugling question I would like to ask you:
1. Wouldn't you think if he was really the "BOMBERMAN" in the DLSU bombing he wouldn't plan it smoothly so that he won't be implicated?
2. And if so, wouldn't he hire someone else to do the dirty job for him as not to expose himself being caught?
3.Now, granting for the sake of argument that Jed would want to do the dirty job for himself, wouldn't it be absurd for him to bring identification cards like his Voter's/Comelec I.D...?(Having a Voter's/Comelec I.D. only shows that Jed is a concerned citizen of our country for he values his Right of suffrage)...
4. Now, would you think a person who values his Country and its Citizens would commit a barbaric and terroristic act by throwing a grenade thereby injuring a lot of people and much worse killing them?
So, the next time you hear people coming out in the open pointing a finger at Jed Carlo Lazaga try to think first "What would be Jed's motive in doing such act and what would he gain?"NONE... On the contrary, Jed will lose a lot of things if he is really the perpetrator... All the things he has worked on for his entire life will be gone and his dream of becoming a LAWYER will only remain as a dream...
But if you wanna reverse the situation and let's ask for ourselves "What would be the motive of these self-proclaimed witnesses and what would they gain"A LOT... I will not mention these motives that I have in mind because this is just my personal opinion and it's just my speculation (but why don't you speculate with me)... You think of the possible things that these "WITNESSES" will gain from doing this...
Here's the IRONY of it all:
If you were in Jed Carlo Lazaga's shoes and you are already a 4th year Law Student (you will be graduating soon) and your grades are good, you will be taking the BAR Exam next year and you're almost at the finish line after almost more than 8 years of Sacrifice of reading voluminous books, searching and digesting cases you are not a party to, sacrificing your Holidays, (for instead of spending it in going to Malls or watching movies, you will be having a special/make-up class), many sleepless nights, unrealized relationships, almost every fun a teenager would want you sacrificed of not having, all for the greater purpose of you becoming a well respected LAWYER:
WOULD YOU HAVE DONE WHAT THESE PEOPLE ARE POINTING AT JED CARLO LAZAGA OF DOING "THROWING A GRENADE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE INNOCENT..."?
The answer lies with you...
But what I will say to you is that JED CARLO LAZAGA IS INNOCENT and that he is a VICTIM not the CULPRIT...
If you happen to believe in our cause pls. try to spread this note to your friends and let's also spread to them that Jed is Innocent... Let us be UNITED with Jed Carlo Lazaga and the victims of the DLSU bombing search for the UNBLEMISHED TRUTH...
Thank you for your time,
While I am shocked by the blast, and I sympathize with the victims, I am more shocked with how irresponsible the media and the PNP can be. Haven't they learned the lessons of the Quirino Hostage Taking Crisis? I guess they still haven't.