Albayalde: Lawyers should have turned over ‘Sagay 9’ witness to DSWD
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday that lawyers should have immediately turned over the Sagay massacre witness, who is a minor, to the local Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) office.
Albayalde was referring to the alleged abduction by lawyers from Karapatan and the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) of the 14-year-old witness last week.
“The most that they could probably have done is to surrender him doon sa DSWD, ‘yon siguro ang the right thing to do there,” the PNP Chief said in his press briefing at Camp Crame.
Asked for the possible reason why Karapatan and NUPL is seeking custody of the child, Albayalde said that the witness might have information vital to the investigation.
“Well there must be something that he knows, kasi unang-una, kapag nagsalita ang bata, it’s taken that they are always telling the truth. Kapag ang bata ang nagsalita, they are so credible because it’s assumed that they do not know how to tell a lie,” he said.
Last Monday, police filed kidnapping charges versus the lawyers, at the request of the witness’ father identified as Vic Pedroso. Western Visayas police director C/Supt. John Bulalacao claimed that the lawyers prevented the child from testifying in court.
However, the witness’ mother has denied that the minor was kidnapped, as the child apparently chose to be with his mother, because he barely knew Pedroso who had left them for 10 years.
According to NUPL, the mother chose to tap the services of the group after Pedroso turned over the witness to the local police without consulting her.
NUPL has also slammed the accusations, saying that the charges were fabricated by authorities, in an alleged attempt to reveal the truth behind the killing of nine farmers last October 21, while farmers were enduring “Tiempo Muerto” or the dead season for sugarcane farming. /je
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