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DID the five persons who collapsed during a 12-hour outdoor concert last week die “by misadventure”? It was not likely that they willfully died by their own hand. Was it a case of multiple homicide, murder? Mayor Duterte blames the police for failure of intelligence to flush out the drug pushers.
Under English law – the basis of most American law which is the basis of most Philippine law – there is such a thing as “death by misadventure.” Frances Fyfield, British writer of psychological thrillers who is a criminal lawyer and previously an attorney in Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Office, explains death by misadventure as “one kind of accident to which the deceased may well have contributed himself, common for a drug overdose.”
Years ago when a pretty girl was found dead in her hotel room in a foreign city, the verdict on most everyone’s mind was suicide by poisoning. Her bereaved mother believed otherwise, telling friends her daughter had accidentally mixed her medicines, not knowing how lethal the combination could be.
If Philippine jurisprudence had recognized misadventure as a manner of death even as late as the last century, would the pain suffered by the family have been substantially diminished, without being removed?
Autopsies on two of last week’s victims of death by partying attributed their collapse to “possible drug overdose.”
Investigators on the case should be able to piece together a clearer picture from four other revelers who survived whatever it was that downed the five fatalities. One police officer has appealed to witnesses, including the survivors who were discharged from hospital shortly after treatment, to come out, be unafraid to say what they saw and experienced: “They are victims, we are not accusing them (of a crime).”
The crime would be to let the peddlers and pushers get away with infiltrating what should have been a high and happy event, but are agents of the law capable of infiltrating the infiltrators?