Friends, former classmates, colleagues in the law practice, judges, court employees and environment advocates in Bohol gathered for over two hours for “Pagyukbo,” and a holy mass to re-consecrate the stretch of road where Atty. Mia MascariÃ±as-Green died to assassin’s bullets.
Reverend Fathers Fernando Po and Manuel Romerde SVD solemnized the “Tribute” February 18 from 6:00 to past 8 AM for the lawyer who was described as confident but not conceited, passionate but not hysterical, mild mannered but not one to run away from an argument of a fight.
Wearing white shirts with Justice for Mia and bringing fresh white flowers or lit candles, everyone prayed and called for justice during the Tribute while from the Hall of Justice, layers and court officials and employees revved at the motorcade which would later join the tribute.
“It doesn’t make sense,” a wheelchair bound Father Po said, his voice cracking as he delivered the day’s homily for the slain lawyer.
Bohol Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) President Atty. Teodoro Lagang said they condemn the killing of their kind and asked the National Bureau of Investigation to track the killers.
The death of Atty. Green came to be the third attack of a lawyer in a possibly work-related attempt to threaten or silence them. Two layers have died while one escaped in these attacks. Â
At the liturgy for the re-consecration of the H. Zamora Street by Fr. Po, friends of Mia shake their heads in despair and grate their teeth in anger at the cowardly act, some demanded blood.
In a country so divided by the planned re-imposition of death penalty to deter crimes, with a heavy heart, Boholanos have found a heart-wrenching rebuttal: the ghastly murder the soft-mannered lawyer.
It could have been another ordinary day in the grind for the Boholana lawyer more noted for her staunch principles, authentic non violence and bias for the poor.
At 5 PM, she fetches her kids from school in the family car, taking a rather predictable route skirting narrow roads and traffic to her home about three kilometers from her daughters’ school.
With the nanny, and three kids, Mia drove their Toyota Innova along the national highway before taking the Dao Terminal Access Road when a motorcycle with a backrider drove past her, blocked her way and the gun-wielding back rider disembarked.
Another two men who waited at the corner for her to make the left turn approached the car from the right, while the backrider shooter pumped bullets into the car and to her. The shooter on the right joined him.
To make sure she would not survive the onslaught, the shooters opened her car doors and pumped more bullets, before speeding off by motorcycles.
Witnesses said the assassins drove off laughing.
While the three traumatized kids and the nanny survived the ambush, Mia did not.
Immediately after her death, Police Regional Director Noli TaliÃ±o ordered a manhunt for the suspects.
Tagbilaran City Police Chief Nicomedes Olaivar, in his statements said Atty. Mia was caught in the conflict between a client and a resort owner.
Over the death, Green Family has offered P500,000 for the capture of the suspects in the ambush-murder.
From the witnesses and the circumstances, police authorities identified Romanico Templano Benigi-an and Lloyd Lancer Gonzaga as tow of the way-laying suspects.
Both were arrested last year for illegal possession of fire arms, PC/Supt. Olaivar said.
But the suspects, who were sighted in Alona Embrace Hotel in Panglao island, eluded arrest when police authorities swooped down upon them.
The owner of the hotel has been identified as the mastermind of the ambush murder.
Recovered however from the Gonzaga bedrooms were two hand grenades, a .45 caliber pistol, a .38 caliber revolver and two packs of crystal meth in the room.
And while police authorities has considered the case solved by the identification of the suspects, Boholanos obviously want more.
How do you measure justice, let me count the ways:Â suspect identified, suspect caught, case filed against suspect, suspect sentenced, suspect jailed for the crime committed?, posts a close friend of Â Atty. Green, Rosalinda Paredes, in her facebook account.
Taking a snipe at how justice in the country crawls and how technicality is used and abused by parties, Paredes, whose husband is also a lawyer asked, “Where are we now? How do we know we have achieved justice?”
Â When authorities said they have the suspects identified and considers the case closed, she has one question.
“Why is it that I still feel sad?” (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)