Maza, Cabinet member, slams surrender call
National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) Chair Liza Maza, a member of the Cabinet with the rank of secretary, on Tuesday slammed calls for her surrender, as she continued to report for work despite a standing warrant for her arrest in connection with revived murder charges filed in 2006 against her and four others.
In a statement, Maza deplored calls made by presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde, saying Maza, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, and former lawmakers Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño should give themselves up to prove their innocence.
“The least that this government can do is to correct the errors of injustice, but instead, it is trying to perpetrate them,” said Maza’s counsel, Rachel Pastores.
“Secretary Roque seems to have forgotten what he used to advocate as a human rights lawyer,” Pastores added.
Maza dismissed Albayalde’s “appeal” to the NAPC chair and her three coaccused to surrender as one not made “for law and order (but) for wrong and injustice.”
“We call on the PNP and all law enforcement officers to respect the rights of the four former party-list representatives, as accorded all persons, and to stop the persecution of the opposition,” Maza said.
In a statement, the four former lawmakers said it was not fair and just for Malacañang and the PNP to ask them to turn themselves in as these charges should not have prospered under a rule of law.
“Malacañang has said it has nothing to do with the revival of the trumped up case. If so, it is nevertheless in a position to rectify the injustice committed against the four former lawmakers,” they said.
Maza’s lawyer also said she continued to discharge her duties as NAPC head, although admitted that the “climate of impunity,” with hundreds of unsolved killings, forces her to take “precautionary measures.”
“They are taking the necessary precautions while they weigh all options to ensure their safety and protect their rights. They will face the charges against them and have filed a motion for reconsideration asking the Palayan court to reverse and set aside its July 11, 2018, order,” they said.
In a letter read during Monday’s monthly general assembly of the NAPC secretariat, Maza urged her colleagues to continue the agency’s important work in poverty alleviation.
Pastores said Maza would dispute the murder charges against her “in the proper fora.”
“She will participate in the proceedings not only in observance of the ‘rule of law,’ but more decisively, to attain justice,” she said.
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