Seares: When they flee: whom to blame

Atty. Pachico A. Seares

THE current furor over the flight of David Lim Jr., son of businessman-car enthusiast David Lim Sr. wanted for the shooting of nurse-motorist Ephraim Nuñal during a traffic spat in Cebu City Sunday dawn, highlights public fascination with fugitives.

Last March 8, seven South Korean nationals, arrested March 3 for “using sex-trafficked persons,” flew home after posting bail the day before. The city was stunned.

After the kidnapping and murder of Ellah Joy Peque in 2011, Cebuana Bella Ruby Santos and her boyfriend British national Charles Griffith were charged. But both fled, sending Cebu on a tizzy until Santos was arrested and faced trial.

The hunt

Whether it’s true people cheer for the fugitive, as we root for the chased animal, the hunt itself perks up public interest.

Along with the unavoidable pin-blaming:

■ On the Lim Jr. escape, police are thrashed for not knowing the identity of the shooter and, upon knowing it, were not aggressive enough in going after the scion of a rich family. Inevitably, the rich-versus-poor class line was raised, which provided Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña the chance to provide “the balancing weight”: his help has reduced chances of Lim Jr.’s escape.

■ Those Korean nationals paid bail and their bail order didn’t include a hold-order. Whose fault was that? The prosecutor should’ve seen to that. The judge should’ve asked. Maybe it was tacitly assumed it was good for everyone that they fled: bail would be forfeited, case closed and Cebu would be rid of undesirables.

■ That wasn’t the attitude, surely, in the case of the Griffith-Santos couple. Santos was arrested and faced trial; she was acquitted, which punched a hole on the theory that flight signifies guilt.

The survivors

Narratives on getaway and chase delight the public. Stories of those who survive the fugitive life entertain even more.

Ping Lacson, a long-time fugitive, never told his secret how he pulled it off, yet managed to recover his standing and reputation as senator.

Cult leader and former mayor Ruben Ecleo Jr., convicted of killing his Cebuana wife, is still at large, though his location is said to be known to law enforcers and he’s reportedly not a fugitive where he is.