“ ….just like in a prima facie case where the minimum evidence is adequate to establish an inference about the accusation….” Atty. Lagum was sauntering around the classroom like a caged monkey.
“ If I were to accuse Mr. Lagaton of robbery…what do you think are the evidences that would be considered in a prima facie case?” he stopped right behind Benny.
Benny’s mind was half attentive and half preoccupied with the events of yesterday.
It was the first time he and Julia had a “fight”.
“ I was. I just went to the other room to get this book.”
Andre was wailing and there was a big, ugly bump on his forehead.
Julia was near to tears as they both tried to rock Andre to appease him. But it was apparent that he was hurt by his continuous crying.
They decided to bring him to the nearby hospital.
They were both upset and terribly worried that they almost forgot to bring the house keys.
“Apply an ice pack 3 times a day until the bump subsides. Observe him for 24 hours. If he vomits or becomes febrile, you’ll have to bring him back immediately,” the Doctor instructed.
On their way home, they didn’t speak to each other.
Benny was thinking, “Did she have to shout?”
Julia was thinking, “He should have been more watchful.”
Andre slept soundlessly after taking in his medications, unaware of the growing tension between his parents. That night – for the first time in their lives- Benny and Julia slept apart like strangers.
Benny had been stressed out with the assignments from school. He had to read several excerpts of a topic from 10 different books AND – baby sit simultaneously because Julia was busy cooking in the kitchen AND – washing clothes too.
It was how Julia shouted at him that Benny didn’t want. Nobody ever shouted at home. Every misunderstanding was resolved calmly. Andre falling off his high chair was an accident.
Granted that it was his fault, still – it does not warrant being shouted at. It was simply unacceptable to him.
“ Mr. Lomiwan…?”
Benny was alert in an instant. “ the prima facie evidence would depend on the charges…,” he answered.
“ I said robbery charges Mr. Lomiwan…” the Professor was eyeing him sternly.
Benny vainly searched in his mind the answer to the question at hand. “ The accused maybe indicted if the weapon used and the goods stolen are found in his possession.“ It was a shot in the dark but common sense dictated that it was the best he can come up with under the circumstances.
“Correct, but this fact should be established beyond reasonable doubt,” the professor was visibly not impressed.
Benny‘s breathing grew steady.
“What if I say Mr. Lomiwan , that you have a tail at the base of your spine because you’re an Igorot?” Professor Lagum just wouldn’t give up.
Someone snickered at the back, but the rest of the class became deathly quiet as Benny’s back turned stiffer.
“How can you disprove the allegation through evidence presentation?” the professor threw the question to the whole class.
It was high school all over again, Benny thought. he could still remember the taunting he had received from his peers because he belonged to a cultural minority.
The air in the room was increasingly charged with apprehension as the silence grew longer.
Benny slowly stood up and towered over the smaller professor. “I can show you the evidence Professor if you can assure me that I have the permission of everyone here in this classroom; and that you would vouch I won’t be charged with indecency.”
Their eyes met and clashed. An interminable minute passed one after the other. The professor’s beaded eyes looked down first, and he moved forward like a squirrel scampering for cover.
Benny didn’t sit down though; “I want all of you to know that I indeed have a tail, but it’s not found at the base of my spine, but in front of me – between my two balls. If you want evidence I would gladly show you this particular “tail”.”
Laughter erupted in the classroom and the professor went red in the face but he said nothing.
Photo by Lin Pernille ♥ …
Just then the bell rang and Benny left without talking to anyone.
He went straight to the school library to research more about their assignment.