Sunday, November 19, 2023

Doc Iggy Agbayani legal case, Part 2

I am reposting some opinion pieces, news reports about the legal case of the late Doc Iggy Agbayani. Special commentary by former Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, who was one of many patients of doc Iggy.

Malilong: Of doctors and lawyers
Frank Malilong 9th Nov, 2023

"It is regrettable that the decision convicting Agbayani was not accorded the privilege of a thorough review by the Regional Trial Court and subsequently, the Court of Appeals because his lawyer failed to do what he was supposed to do in both instances. The existence of reckless imprudence while a factual issue that is, as a rule, left to the determination of the trial court, may still be reviewed on appeal if there are glaring errors in the findings of facts.

It is, of course, in the realm of conjecture to claim that the judgment of conviction would have been overturned had Agbayani’s appeal been reviewed by the RTC and later, by the CA instead of being dismissed on a technicality and/or procedural error. But in Cebu, there have been at least two cases, one involving a school owner and another, a doctor of medicine, of infections in knee surgeries. The patients did not cry reckless imprudence. The surgeons were not sued."

COMMENTARY: Dr. Iggy, judicial reform
Reni M. Valenzuela November 12, 2023

"The court seemed to have ruled purely based on the failure of the defendant’s counsel to file the Memorandum of Appeal within a given/required time. Thus, Dr. Benigno “Iggy” Agbayani Jr. was sentenced and put in prison at the Manila City Jail like he was guilty or declared guilty of the crime of reckless imprudence that stemmed from the case filed by his erstwhile patient, Atty. Saul Hofilena Jr.

But the big question is, why would a client suffer because of technicality failure on the part of the lawyer? Should it not be the lawyer who must suffer and be jailed, though not necessarily suffer a massive heart attack and die inside a city jail exactly as what happened to Dr. Iggy last 5 October while serving his sentence?

... In the case of Agbayani and Hofilena, the latter happens to be more famous and influential than the former, who was just an outstanding, humble, politically powerless, good-hearted, compassionate, unassuming doctor of medicine.

Are our courts of law merely arenas for lawyers to play their games, and for the crooks and thugs in the halls of power to frolic their tricks?"

The sad saga of Dr. Iggy Agbayani
By: Artemio V. Panganiban November 13, 2023

"I am not surprised that the Court based its UER on a strict reading of the laws and rules. As I observed in my column on Nov. 6, the Court’s majority uses “the strict or verba legis method of interpretation.” Since I belong to the liberal school of jurisprudence, I would have voted, if still an incumbent, to remand the case to the trial courts to determine whether there was indeed “reckless imprudence” on the non-sterilization issue; and if so, whether it should be factually attributed to him, or the operating room nurse, or the hospital itself, or all of them."

Family, friends of dedicated surgeon who died in prison take on his case
Statement of the family of Dr. Benigno 'Iggy' Agbayani Jr. on his death and the case that led to his imprisonment.
November 15, 2023

"He hoped for the courts to revisit his case and focus on its merits, rather than on technicalities. To set jurisprudence in the interest of doing the right thing rather than following the strict or verba legis interpretation of the law.

His legal counsel had strong grounds for filing a miscarriage-of-justice claim, and he was determined to clear his name and protect the medical profession he dedicated his life to.

But tragically, he passed away before he could do so. However, we, his family and closest friends, have stood up to see this through.We implore to not only his colleagues in the medical profession but also the legal community and every Filipino citizen who values the impartiality of a fair trial, regardless of his rank or connections, to stand with us in signing a petition for a review of his case."

Tell it to SunStar: De Lima: Justice, vindication and forgiveness
By Reni M. Valenzuela 15th Nov, 2023

"All these are in contrast to Atty. Saul Hofilena Jr.’s “legal victory” over the late, noted, beloved doctor of medicine, Dr. Iggy Agbayani Jr., who was jailed unfairly and died recently of a heart attack inside the Manila City Jail while serving his sentence -- as a detained, stressed, baffled, “cheerful,” lonely, good man. Bring him back to life."

Tragic loss of Doc Iggy
Doc Iggy’s heart-wrenching story shines a light on some dark corners of our justice system.
By Gigie Arcilla November 17, 2023

"The loss of a skilled medical professional not only affects his family and loved ones but also deprives society of a valuable asset. He passed away fighting for justice in the medical community and improving the health conditions of the rest of the unfortunate persons deprived of liberty.

Doc Iggy’s heart-wrenching story shines a light on some dark corners of our justice system — a haunting reminder of the devastating aftermath when innocence is forsaken."

Statement of Saul Hofileña, Jr.
November 17, 2023 | Letter to the Editor

"Almost 18 years ago or on Jan. 5, 2006, the Doctor conducted an arthroscopy operation on my left knee which led to an infection. The infection was exactly in the same site where the arthroscope which was used in the operation was inserted. Twenty-eight days later or on Feb. 2, 2006, the infection was surgically removed by another doctor. Surgical removal was necessary because the infection was already widespread. I then had another operation on June 7, 2006, because of a locked wrist which I suffered because I was using a cane when I am not on my wheelchair."

FB post by Isa-Miguel Buencamino
November 18, 2023

...When my brother woke up that morning of the January 5, 2006 operation, he had every intention of doing the best job he could.

Like he always did.

On operation days, I remember he wakes up at 5 am, gets mentally and physically ready - then off he goes to work.

No one, no doctor, in their right mind, wakes up with a plan to hurt others or do their very worst.

Since my brother died, I cannot tell you how many people have suggested that we should "go after" our brother's lawyers.

They must pay for their mistakes, they said.

In our despair and rage – the unbelievable helplessness we felt after Iggy died – he is gone - No matter what we do, we can never get him back - Maybe we would be forgiven for acting on our blind rage and go after everyone who played a part in his misfortune.

Should we go on a path bent on destroying other people's lives?


Enough pain and suffering have been spent, and we do not want the legacy of our brother to be that.

Instead, we are taking a step back from our pain and asking questions - what really went wrong?

As former SCJ Panganiban said in an opinion piece he wrote in the Philippine Daily Inquirer - when he suggested this case should have gone back to trial -  we want to seek justice. Not revenge.

If Hofilena truly feels that he was justified in his actions towards Iggy these last 17 years, then he should support us - let us all put this case under the bright light of justice.

He should also sign the petition to review the case.


The legal case of the late Doc Iggy
October 31, 2023
My Cup Of Liberty
By Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr.

Ex-SC spokesman clarifies role in surgeon’s conviction
Daphne Galvez November 9, 2023

"Former Supreme Court (SC) spokesman Theodore Te yesterday clarified that while he initially worked on the case of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Benigno Agbayani Jr., he was not the one who saw it through to the end.

“I worked on (Agbayani’s) case at the start but had to refer it to my former law partners when I left for master’s and later when I joined the SC,” he said.

“Many of my friends asked me because that was precisely how they read it. So that needs to be addressed by an apology at the very least for the implication. There’s a big difference between initially being the lawyer and being the lawyer who handled the case when it ended,” he said."

Jailed doc firm on his innocence in negligence case till the very end

Kathleen de Villa November 12, 2023

"Agbayani did not seek parole or pardon, saying in a journal that it would mean admitting guilt that could be used as a precedent in future cases against doctors.

In his open letter to fellow physicians publicly shared by his “brods” on Facebook, Doc Iggy vowed to fight the “grave injustice foisted upon me because I am not guilty of any crime.” His detention stemmed from a criminal case lodged in 2006 by one of his patients, lawyer, and newspaper columnist Saul Hofileña Jr., at the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) Branch 26."


See also:
CDC PH statement on the passing of Doc Iggy Agbayani, October 08, 2023
Doc Iggy Agbayani letter to his fellow doctors, October 15, 2023
BWorld 646, Revisiting the lockdown, the role of CDC PH and Doc Iggy Agbayani, October 27, 2023
Doc Iggy Agbayani legal case, Part 1, November 03, 2023.

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