(Nightlead) Palace renews call to gov't prosecutors to help speed up Maguindanao trial

June 25, 2013 10:18 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, June 25 (PNA) — Malacanang on Tuesday reiterated the directive of President Benigno Aquino III to government prosecutors handling the Maguindanao massacre case to help speed up the trial by thwarting any "dilatory tactics" by the defense.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a press briefing, said the government stands ready to assist the families of the massacre victims as discussed during their previous dialogue with the President.

"The offer of assistance has always been there dahil alam po nating mabigat po ‘yung kanilang pinagdadaanan. And, again, the instructions of the President stand — para sa mga public prosecutors po natin, hindi po dapat dine-delay ‘yung pag-prosecute doon sa kaso at labanan po lahat ng any dilatory motions or dilatory tactics na pwede hong i-employ ng depensa," she said.

Private prosecutor Harry Roque earlier said at least 14 of his clients were offered money by a third party to drop the charges against the Ampatuans last February but the deal did not materialize because the negotiator died two weeks later.

He urged the government instead to provide compensation to the victims' families so they can resist any monetary offer from the Ampatuans.

Valte, however, said they don't agree with the interpretation of the private prosecutor and government prosecutors will never support moves to settle the Maguindanao case out of court.

"We don’t agree with the interpretation kasi, in any criminal case, syempre may akusado at understood na ‘yon na, kapag napatunayan na sa korte, kasama na doon ‘yung civil aspect of the case," she said.

"Our public prosecutors will never support a move like that. The President's instructions stand — for our prosecutors to avoid delay in trying the case and to object to dilatory tactics," she added. (PNA)



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