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Slow pace of justice favors the accused

/ 09:49 PM June 26, 2013

International legal expert Harry Roque, who is a  lawyer for some of the relatives of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre, decries the slow pace of the trial of the mass murders in 2009.

Roque says relatives of 14 victims of the massacre nearly agreed to have an out-of-court settlement with the Ampatuans, who have been charged with the murders, in exchange for P50 million from the accused.

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That’s P3.58 million each for the relatives of the 14 victims.

The relatives of the Maguindanao victims think  the government doesn’t care enough for them.

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There may come a time when all the relatives of the 58 victims might agree to a settlement because justice grinds exceedingly slow in this country.

The slow pace of the trial favors the Ampatuans.

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The Ampatuans are worth billions of pesos which they acquired during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

They could easily afford to pay off each family of their 58 victims.

Even if they paid each family of their 58 victims P10 million, that’s only P580 million. That’s peanuts to the Ampatuans.

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When Army troops swooped down on one of the mansions of the Ampatuans in Maguindanao province, they found P800 million in cold cash inside a vault in the house and helped themselves to the loot.

More money—about P200 million—was found buried in the premises of another mansion in Maguindanao when troops raided other properties of the Ampatuans.

I heard from highly reliable sources in the then Arroyo administration, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when reports reached him about the huge finds.

He wanted a piece of the loot, but the soldiers wouldn’t part with their find.

A lot more money than was found is hidden or buried in other places in Mindanao.

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Another case of “justice delayed is justice denied” is the disappearance of Randy Rejesus, 27, who was allegedly abducted by policemen manning a checkpoint in General Trias, Cavite province.

Rejesus was driving his motorcycle home from a friend’s birthday party when he was waylaid.

An eyewitness saw Rejesus being beaten up by several cops at the checkpoint and dragged into their precinct nearby.

Rejesus was never seen nor heard from again.

My public service program, “Isumbong mo kay Tulfo,” is helping Rejesus’ sister Marissa look for him, or what remains of him.

My staff and I have filed a case against the policemen involved in Rejesus’ disappearance—Police Officer 1 Rogie Fabrigas Cayaga, PO1 Allan John Ferrer, PO2 JohnLeo Amon Francisco and PO3 John-John Dichoso Pilapil.

We have asked the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the courts to direct the policemen concerned to produce Rejesus, but they have yet to grant our request.

We have also asked the Department of Justice to provide protection to our eyewitness, Peter (not his real n ame), under the Witness Protection Program but our request has been mired in bureaucratic red tape.

Rejesus disappeared on the night of March 10, but the government is very slow in looking for him.

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President Noy has appointed to the top position of a government-run business firm a person who once failed a drug test for driving.

P-Noy doesn’t investigate first before he appoints people to sensitive positions.

I heard the person concerned is still a drug dependent.

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TAGS: Ampatuans, Crime, Harry Roque, Justice, Maguindanao massacre, Metro, Trial
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