Judge’s creative writing in controversial killer cop case draws attention

·3 min read

The sensational case of Jonel Nuezca, the killer cop whose point-black shooting of his neighbors was caught on camera, rightfully caused widespread outrage when the video went viral. And when news of Nuezca’s conviction came out Thursday, August 26, that should have spelled closure not just for the family of his victims, but for a scarred nation.

The 18-page decision handed down by Judge Stella Marie Gandia-Asuncion, however, sounded like it didn’t want to close the book on this awful chapter—on the contrary, it sounded like it was the beginning of one.

“It is the most wonderful time of the year, for it is but five days before Christmas,” begins the legal paper—and the reader wouldn’t be remiss if he picked up on a sense of foreboding from that introduction. “Despite the pandemic, Filipinos, here and abroad, will still celebrate the Christmas, albeit with modifications. When all other parts of the country are abuzz and jubilant for merriment, gun shots were heard from a peaceful town. Bang bang!”

What was that!? “The sound of a caliber 9mm Pietro Beretta which took two lives in a split second. The gun was from a police officer. Yelling, screaming, and crying are defeaning,” reads the legal decision.

If it’s all beginning to sound very cinematic, the next few sentences make it clear that it was not, dear reader, an act. “As if a scene in a motion picture, and the actors and actresses delivered their act the way the movie director wanted them to act. But, it was not. For there were no cuts and there were no take twos. Two bloodied bodies, one from a mother, and the other, her son, fell on the ground. Lifeless. Breathless. The peaceful town became the hot potato.”

Unfortunately for lovers of gritty pulp fiction, the next couple of paragraphs pretty much calm down into the more or less standard legal language.

“The court loves some drama,” commented one Twitter user.

“When you’re a feature writer and the topic given to you is about a crime so you make the introduction part as interesting as possible para lang basahin ng judges yung article mo,” said another.

It’s true—we shouldn’t be laughing at anything to do with this horrific crime, or at a judicial system that worked swiftly to bring a murderer to justice. And, introduction aside, this legal document does hand down the harshest sentence under the Revised Penal Code.

So there is quite a bit to note seriously from this joint decision. But, as another literary law figure said: If you tickle us, do we not laugh?

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This article, Judge’s creative writing in controversial killer cop case draws attention, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.

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