SC junks case vs Lacson in Kuratong Baleleng 'rubout'

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court on November 13 upheld a regional trial court ruling dismissing a criminal case against then police chief and now Sen Panfilo Lacson for his alleged involvement in the 1991 "rubout" of members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang.

The SC, in a decision penned by Justice Roberto Abad, afffirmed the ruling of Judge MaTheresa Yadao of the Quezon City regional trial court Branch 81. Yadao in 2003 junked the murder case against Lacson and other police officials for lack of probable cause.

Lacson was police chief superintendent and head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) in 1995 when policemen under his command gunned down 11 members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. The group cried rubout; the police insisted it was a shootout.

What followed was a prolonged legal battle between Lacson and his group and the Office of the Solicitor General -- from the lower court, to the Court of Appeals and finally to the Supreme Court.

The SC voted 14-0 to uphold Yadao's ruling, saying she did not commit grave abuse of discretion in junking the case. Justice Antonio Carpio inhibited from the case. - Rappler.com