Palace: Gov’t has no obligation to pay kin of Maguindanao massacre victims | Inquirer News
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Palace: Gov’t has no obligation to pay kin of Maguindanao massacre victims

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte: INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang does not agree with lawyer Harry Roque’s interpretation that the government has the responsibility, under international law, to indemnify victims of the Maguindanao massacre before the conclusion of the trial.

At a briefing, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that part and parcel of the judgment of the court (should it be a conviction) would be the civil aspect of the case.

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“We don’t agree with the interpretation because, in any criminal case, of course, there are accused, and it is understood that if the charges are proven in court, the (judgment) will include the civil aspect of the case,” said Valte, a lawyer.

She doubted the veracity of the P50 million out-of-court settlement that had been dangled to some of the victims’ families, saying other lawyers had denied this.

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“So I don’t know if this is a disconnect between the client and the lawyer. Also, we will defer to the justice department whether they would agree to the interpretation of Attorney Roque on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said Valte.

She said she was “not really quite sure if that (doctrine) applies.”

“He is making it appear that the government had committed the crime—the accused, while they were (still) elected officials. But the government was not one of those (charged),” she said.

Valte said the Aquino administration, through the Department of Justice, would not accede to any attempt to frustrate the ends of justice.

“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 said.

But she maintained that when the President met with the families of the victims, the latter had offered help, with some concerns immediately referred to concerned agencies.

“The offer of assistance has always been there because we all know what they’re going through. And, again, the instructions of the President stand: for the public prosecutors not to delay the prosecution of the cases and block all and any dilatory motions or dilatory tactics that the defense could employ,” she said.

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TAGS: Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, Crime, Government, Justice, law, Maguindanao massacre
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