The Center for International Law (Centerlaw) is firm in our goal to achieve justice for the victims of the Maguindanao Massacre.
As counsel for the heirs of 15 victims of the massacre, we lament 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 Nena Santos and Prima 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.
If Attorneys Santos and Quinsayas have good faith belief in the worth of their cause, we are the first to encourage them to correctly ventilate them in the proper forum of IBP administrative and judicial criminal proceedings, where they should present real, concrete and substantiated evidence.
As to their claim that they still have many witnesses crucial to the case to present,
we have been hearing about this claim for so long – in fact, long before this controversy came up – and we regret to say that, to the best of our knowledge and after waiting for so long, there is not much that can be staked on such a claim.
For the record, it was Centerlaw that first proposed the First-in-First-Out Rule (FIFO). Simply, under FIFO, the court may already render judgment on the case of any accused over whom all evidence – for or against – has already been heard.
The rationale is that the families of victims and the accused do not have to wait for the evidence concerning 194 Accused to be heard by the court to achieve justice, which could take a long, long, long time.
This is the fair rule respecting due process for both the families of the victim and the Accused.
The regional trial court hearing the case rejected the proposal, but the Supreme Court subsequently adopted our proposal by issuing a circular to institutionalize it and to direct the trial court to implement it.
This is the legal background against which the decision of the public prosecutors to rest the case on the first batch of 28 Accused must be understood.
We actively participated in the presentation of the case against these 28 Accused. With the public prosecutors, we believe there is more than enough evidence presented in court to satisfy the demands of justice.
This is why for lawyers of the Center, without evidence of bribery presented before the proper forum, the charges raised by Santos and Quinsayas do not make any sense.
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 Ampatuans.
H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. Joel Ruiz Butuyan Romel Regalado Bagares Gilbert Andres Ethel Avisado Geepee Gonzales