Chapter 1

"GOOD morning, ladies and gentlemen. Calling the case of the People of the Philippines vs. Maple Santiago. Case number 18 00246 1." She stopped for seconds. "You may all sit down." She added.

"Are both sides ready?" The Judge first remark.

"Yes, Your Honor."

The trial started in an instant.

"Please, read the charge." The Judge added, the Prosecutor stood up.

"On July 12, 2018, at 8 p.m., the Defendant, Maple Santiago accused the Victim Liam Cunanan of rape and abuse while staying at a luxurious hotel. She threatened the Victim with a knife found in a hotel's mini kitchen and then murdered him by stabbing him twice in the armpit and at the knee. The Prosecutor began walking towards the center, looking at the Defendant.

She goes on. "The late Victim would habitually meet the Defendant in a luxurious hotel to eat or date, giving an impression that the two were very close. As the Victim is accused of sex assault, this appears to be an act of self-defense, assuming that the Victim could no longer tolerate the harassment. However, if you look at the autopsy results, you'll notice that this was a planned murder."

"How likely is it that she will inadvertently stab the Victim right in the vital spot?" She inquired. "As a result, the Prosecution wished to charge the Defendant with murder." She then returned to her seat.

"Attorney, please state your opinion regarding the charges." The Judge called me up.

I stood up and began expressing my point of view and making a statement. "According to the paramedic on the scene, the Defendant had broken three of her ribs and was injured enough to be hospitalized for 10 weeks. Even she intended on murdering him. " I stop and look at the Jury. "How likely is it for a small woman like her to stab him right in his vital spot? Considering the fact that she was also severely injured?" I looked at he Judge.

"Thus, I request that the Defendant be acquitted on the grounds that it was an act of self-defense according to the Republic Act no. 10591." Then, I sat down.

The trial continues, and the Defendant is called to the stand as a witness. I approach her and ask her a question.

"From what I've heard, you're very close. May I ask, what is going on between the two of you?"

"We're colleague ,childhood friends... But we drifted apart." She gave a thoughtful response.

I nodded and asked a new question. "However, after knowing about it, some people claimed that you and Liam Cunanan met multiple times; is this true?"

She gave a nod. "That is correct."

"May I ask why?" She remained silent, and I turned to face the Judge. "Your honor. I brought one of her friends, who is also a Psychologist, to the stand to better explain my client's situation. Please allow me to call her out."

Safiyah began her statement after the judge agreed.

"At first glance, it may appear difficult to understand, but these two are so close that we can't tell them apart. But when Liam confessed his feelings for her, we saw her distance herself, but Liam is always making things that Maple can't say no to because she is afraid of saying 'No'."

I nodded. "As a Psychologist does it seems unusual to you? The fact that Maple can't say no to him can mean different things?"

"Every person has their own set of reasons. They may or may not want to tell you about them, but you get the idea. Respecting their need to say no, as a Psychologist, I believe that it preerves the relationship by making the other person feel cared for. And in conclusion, she can't say no to him and that I think is the reason why Liam demands for her attention." She said and looked to Maple giving her assurance.

"That's all, Your Honor." I said and went back to sit.

The Judge spoke. "Prosecution, will you redirect?"

The Prosecutor nodded and stood up. The defendant is still at the Witness stand. "Yes, Your Honor."

She walked towards her. "Ms. Santiago, this is the will that the Victim wrote. Do you know anything about it?"

The Defendant silently nodded "Yes, I know."

The Prosecutor nodded. "Also, you know that the life insurance policy of Liam Cunanan, You're the one of the beneficiary with 74% while the 26% is for his family. You knew that right?"


The Prosecutor raised her eyebrow. "Do you know how much?"

The Defendant shook her head. "I don't know. I have no intention of taking the money."

The Prosecutor walk towards the middle and looked at the Jury. "Liam Cunanan has a life insurance of 3 Million dollars." And looked at the Defendant. "Its a large amount of money for you not have known." She said and looked at the Judge. "That is all, Your Honor."

I shook my head. This is not good...Fuck!

The trial ended shortly after that, I was walking towards exit when...

"A mentally ill Attorney in the court. You don't see that every day."

I turned back and saw the Prosecutor in-charge with Maple's case.

"Well, I'm cleared." I smiled.

"A suicidal, you still have guts to continue your career."

"My personal condition doesn't concern you, Prosecutor. My past won't hinder my decisions and actions."

"Ba't mo pa pinaglalaban talo na nga." She smirked.

I gave a small smile. "How can you predict something that will never happen?"

She slowly walked towards me and touched my hair. "Alam kong, alam mong hindi tinatanggap ng korte ang self-defense 'di ba?"

I cocked my brow and shrugged her hand off. "True. But maybe I'll flip the script this time, ey?"

"I won't let you. Ito na ata ang katapusan ng career mo, Attorney Miranda."

Napatawa naman ako. "That would be fun. Surprise me, Prosecutor."

"Are you threatening me, Attorney?" She asked.

"Are you threaten, Prosecutor?" I grinned and walk out, I walk towards the parking lot.

On the way back to the office. "Something is off, I can feel it"

I walked towards the parking lot, check my phone once again since my good old little brother set up a lunch appointment for me.

From the very first day I arrived in the Philippines, couple of cases are waiting for me. I deserve to rest and cope up with my jetlag.

I shook my head and begun driving to the restaurant.


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