The Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) condemns in the strongest possible terms the brazen meddling of Secretaries Edwin Lacierda and Jessie Robredo in the conduct of the Ampatuan massacre trial.
Lacierda and Robredo have not only usurped the powers of the Secretary of Justice, they even had the temerity to contradict the DOJ Secretary on a pending case that is within the sole executive jurisdiction of the DOJ.
The DOJ Secretary and the public and private prosecutors have been toiling everyday in the Ampatuan cases for almost two years now. They are the ones who attend the trial, listen to the witnesses, and view and assess all the pieces of evidence. It is them who can best assess whether there is worth, scheme, or guile in the offer of Zaldy Ampatuan to turn state witness, and not Lacierda and Robredo.
It was the height of irresponsibility, a very serious disservice to the President, and a shameless affront to the families of the 58 massacre victims when Lacierda and Robredo brushed aside the DOJ Secretary and the prosecutors and facilitated Zaldy Ampatuan to have access to the President.
The families of the 58 victims live in constant fear for their lives in Mindanao even with Zaldy, Andal Sr., and Andal Jr. in jail. They know that the terror network of the Ampatuans remain intact. Atty. Harry Roque has, at numerous times, narrated how his clients constantly cower in fear because strangers case their houses asking questions about them in their neighborhoods.
And here comes Lacierda and Robredo advocating that the President consider letting Zaldy Ampatuan lose. Do Lacierda and Robredo even think about the security of the families of the 58 victims in their meddling move to even consider letting Zaldy Ampatuan go free? If the families of the 58 victims cower in fear now when Zaldy is in jail, how much more if Zaldy is allowed to go free?
What message are Lacierda and Robredo sending to the 58 victim-families? That the lives and security of the 50 victim-families are expendable and tradeable?
And what about the witnesses who have testified or are set to testify on the participation of Zaldy Ampatuan in the massacre? What message have Lacierda and Robredo sent to these crucial witnesses now? Lacierda and Robredo have virtually put fear in the hearts of these very crucial witnesses because this Zaldy Ampatuan whom they are going to implicate in the crime of the century has the ears of the President, has allies within the President’s circles, and that he can go scot free because he has tradeable information to barter for his freedom. These witnesses will now think ten times whether to continue to testify against Zaldy, or withdraw altogether as witnesses or censor Zaldy out of their testimonies for fear of retribution if Zaldy is allowed to go scot free.
We also strongly deplore the misinformation and character assassination made by Leah Navarro and the Black and White Movement on one of or own, Atty. Harry Roque.
Leah Navarro criticizes Atty. Roque for supposedly “having a belligerent attitude to the DOJ” but omitting to mention that such comment was made when Gloria Arroyo was still in power and the DOJ head was Secretary Agra who was the first to make an attempt to clear Zaldy Ampatuan of criminal liability. To have a belligerent attitude towards the GMA controlled DOJ at that time was a courageous act and constitutes a badge of honor.
It is Leah Navarro and the Black and White Movement who must account for their gross irresponsibility. Having taken over the reigns of power now, with all the machinery and resources to uncover all the crimes committed by the previous administration at their disposal, all they can come up with is a plan to trade the lives and safety of the 58 families in exchange for the crocodile tears of an Ampatuan.
It is Leah Navarro and the Black and White Movement who have a belligerent attitude towards the families of the 58 victims. It is they who are “in synch” with Zaldy Ampatuan. It is they who must account for their act of betrayal.