A group of private lawyers led by Atty. Harry Roque, is behind government lawyers in their decision to rest the case against some of the accused in the gruesome Maguindanao massacre.
Roque, along with Joel Ruiz Butuyan, Romel Regalado Bagares, Gilbert Andres, Ethel Avisado and Geepee Gonzales raised concerns over the accusations being hurled by private prosecutors Nena Santos and Prima Quinsayas against the state prosecutors.
They said it is unfair for Santos and Quinsayas to allege that state prosecutors are compromising the case in exchange of bribes.
“We lament the unsubstantiated allegations of bribery that serve no purpose other than to derail the goal of effective and expeditious prosecution. The publicity lamentably generated by Attorneys Santos and Quinsayas in making grave allegations against the public prosecutors unfairly taint the integrity of the entire work of the prosecution considering that the allegations hurled remain bare, naked and reckless even,” they said.
This was after Santos and Quinsayas accused some of the state prosecutors of receiving bribe as huge as P300 million for the compromise agreement between the government and accused in the massacre—the Ampatuan clan. They also accused Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III of receiving P20 million in bribes to secure the liberty of the suspects.
But Justice Secretary Leila De Lima refused to engage with the accusations, adding that she will not remove Baraan from office.
“Please do not ask me to choose between the private and public prosecutors. If you’re asking me now to choose between them, then I will certainly side with our public prosecutors,” she said on Wednesday.
“This particular case is the case of the whole country, and the whole world is watching. The private complainants do not only own this case,” she said.
Centerlaw counsels also see this move by the two private prosecutors as nonsense.
“Sadly, whether Santos and Quinsayas wittingly or unwittingly realize it, the parties that will benefit most from their baseless allegations and senseless intrigues are the [principal suspects] Ampatuans,” they said.