Davao court acquits gay man of unjust vexation charge

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 May) – After 10 years of legal struggle, a gay man was found not guilty of two counts of unjust vexation filed by a complainant who was a prosecutor when they figured in a confrontation after the former entered the ladies’ comfort room at the Victoria Plaza Mall here.

However, Municipal Trial Court Branch 3 presiding judge Silverio M. Mandalupe found the accused, Eliazar Ignoza aka “Charry”, guilty of “slight oral defamation” and was sentenced to pay “P200 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.”

According to the decision, the grounds for filing of “unjust vexation” were based on the accusation of Prosecutor Rocarma Nuesca that the “accused, a male person, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously urinated inside the ladies’ comfort room at Victoria Plaza Mall, to the great annoyance, distress and disturbance of Atty. Rocarma Nuesca who was then using the said ladies’ comfort room” and for taking photos of her without any consent in 2007.

The court said “the accused only acted within his means to take note of the identity of the private complainant since he had no other way to identify the latter. Certainly, the act annoyed the private complainant but it was not unjustifiable. Hence, there is reasonable doubt as to the supposed felonious act of the accused.”

It added that “the act of the accused in pissing inside the ladies’ comfort room was not unlawful or felonious per se. The accused, a known homosexual, admittedly had long been using the said comfort room while working as stylist at the nearby Carnation Salon.” It added that Victoria Plaza had no “official management policy” that prohibited it.

Atty. Eduardo Estores, the counsel of the accused, told reporters Friday that it is still a long fight for the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBT) to attain equal rights and battle discrimination.

“The accused went to the ladies’ room because he felt he’s a woman. It’s his right which CR to use, but if he goes to the men’s CR, he was also afraid of getting beaten up,” Estores said.

Ignoza has called for respect for the members of the LGBT community.

He lamented how his case dragged for 10 years.

“We’re only asking them to respect us. If they don’t like what we are doing, just respect us. As long as we’re not doing anything to them, we don’t hurt their feelings, they have to respect us because we give them our respect, too),” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)