Gov’t defers to state lawyers’ wisdom on Ampatuan massacre case
Malacañang also calls on government and private prosecutors to patch up whatever differences they may have over the case

MASSACRE. Police investigators looking at dead bodies covered with banana leaves, victims of a massacre in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao province. File photo from Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said on Saturday, August 2, that it defers to the judgment of state prosecutors in their decision to rest the prosecution’s case against the suspects of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, among the most gruesome in recent history.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made the statement in an interview over state-run Radyo ng Bayan, when asked about the protests of some private prosecutors involved in the case. They said that the move would prohibit the prosecution from filing further evidence and could lead to mistrial.

“We leave it to the wisdom of the government prosecutors,” Valte said.

Valte, a lawyer, explained that even when she was still in law practice, even if the offended party is one’s client, “when you represent the victim, you are still under the control and supervision of the government prosecutors.”

“So, you would really defer to the judgment of the government prosecutors,” she added.

Valte also asked both camps to discuss and settle any misunderstanding or personal differences.

Siguro po kung meron silang konting hindi pagkakaintindihan, sana po mapag-usapan po nila kasi ang tinutulak po natin ditong lahat at sigurado po ako na lahat naman sila iyon po ang gustong makamit, is iyong hustisya para doon sa mga naging biktima at para po sa kanilang mga pamilya. Kung meron po silang hindi pagkakaintindihan, o kung meron po mang mga personal na alitan, sana po mapag-usapan po nila,” she said.

(Perhaps if they have a little misunderstanding, we hope they would discuss it because what we are all pursuing here – and I’m sure they all want to achieve this – is justice for the victims and their families. So if they have any misunderstanding or personal differences, we hope they would settle them.)

She assured that the government does not forget the brutal November 23, 2009 massacre, where at least 58 people, including 32 journalists, were gunned down and then buried in a mass grave in Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

I’m sure hindi lang po kami ang nakakaalala. Marami po tayong nakakaalala at kahit hindi po ito masyadong nababalita, alam ko pong marami po na sumusubaybay sa kasong ito,” she added. (I’m sure it’s not only us who remember. There are many people who still remember it, and even if [court proceedings on the case] are not frequently reported, I know that many people follow this case.)

Former Datu Unsay town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr and 27 others stand accused of perpetrating the massacre. (READ: Impunity reigns 4 years after Maguindanao massacre – groups) –

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