Posted by: nupl | July 6, 2010

“Arroyo Behind Anomalous Justice Secretary Resolution” – NUPL

In a press statement today, the national human rights lawyers’ group, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) condemned the resolution issued by Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra absolving two members of the Ampatuan clan in the senseless and gruesome Maguindanao Massacre.

“The Resolution issued by Sec. Agra is not only questionable and irregular, it also violated established legal doctrines and principles on basic criminal procedure,” NUPL Acting Sec-Gen. Atty. Edre U. Olalia, stated. “The move not only had further contributed to serious public doubts about the integrity of the entire DOJ, it also grossly tainted the country’s criminal justice system in general.”

NUPL cited the landmark case of Crespo vs Mogul  (G.R. No. L-53373 June 30, 1987) where the Supreme Court set the jurisprudential rule that once ruled that “once a complaint or information is filed in Court any disposition of the case as its dismissal or the conviction or acquittal of the accused rests in the sound discretion of the Court. Although the fiscal retains the direction and control of the prosecution of criminal cases even while the case is already in Court he cannot impose his opinion on the trial court. The Court is the best and sole judge on what to do with the case before it.”

It should be noted that RTC Judge Solis-Reyes has ruled that there was probable cause against all the accused in the Ampatuan massacre and subsequently issued arrest warrants against them.

In their press statement, the NUPL not only questioned the irregularity of the said Resolution but went straight to the point when it said that, “There is no doubt that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is behind the Agra decision absolving the two Ampatuans,” Olalia stated.  “President Arroyo has the record of whitewashing cases against her and her allies while prosecuting the opposition on the other hand.”

It should be noted that Agra served as an election lawyer for PGMA during the elections.  He was also in the forefront of the charter change attempt being pushed by PGMA through people’s initiative.

The NUPL believes that as a mater of principle, Sec. Agra should forthwith revisit the recommendation and consider resigning and expressed support for the DOJ prosecutors who protested against the said Resolution.  The lawyers’ group called on other prosecutors, especially those in Mindanao, to express the same outrage.

NUPL said that the move to absolve the two Ampatuans is a painful insult and an added injustice to the families of the victims of the massacre.

Two NUPL lawyers, Atty. Connie Brizuela and Atty. Cynthia Oquendo, were among those killed in the Ampatuan massacre. # # #

Posted on 21 Apr 2010 at nupl.net
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