Agra denies 'gag order' vs DOJ officials on Maguindanao massacre case

April 21, 2010 8:09 pm 

MANILA, April 21 — Acting Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary and concurrent Solicitor General Alberto Agra on Wednesday denied reports that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has issued a "gag order" against DOJ officials to speak or be interviewed about the Maguindanao massacre case.

Agra said that Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza himself confirmed to him that Malacanang has not issued a "gag order" for any DOJ official.

Agra assured that he and the state prosecutors who are handling the massacre case can be interviewed anytime.

In a resolution earlier, Agra exonerated suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan and Mamasapano town Vice Mayor Datu Akmad Ampatuan in connection with the killing of 57 civilians, including 15 women and 30 media practitioners, in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.

A group of state prosecutors headed by Chief State Prosecutor Claro Arellano assailed Agra's decision absolving the two Ampatuans on the murder charges filed against them.

Agra said he would not be vindictive against the protesting state prosecutors for as long as they do not violate the law and continue to perform their assigned duties and functions in the proper dispensation of justice.

Agra added that he and the other DOJ officials are ready to give updates on the development of the case for the interest of the public. (PNA) scs/PTR

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