Let me start by saying that the conduct of Secretary Lacierda yesterday, his resort to name calling, and gutter behavior is sad and lamentable. Secretary Lacierda should be reminded that when he speaks as a Presidential spokesperson, he does so on behalf of the President. His conduct and language did not give dignity to the Office of The President.
At issue here is justice for the 58 families who lost their loved ones in the most gruesome manner last November 23, 2009. At issue here too is the 32 counts of affronts on press freedom since the killing of the 32 media victims of the massacre are separate affronts on the freedom of the press. At issue here is whether one of the masterminds in this massacre should be allowed to go scot free in exchange for information that would pin down GMA, but have nothing to do with the massacre itself.
When I singled out both Secretaries Robredo and Lacierda, I did so because of a firm conviction that a criminal suspect in the country’s worst massacre should not have access to the President of the land. There is a criminal prosecution where the state, through the DOJ, is acting as the prosecutor of the accused. What business do Robredo and Lacierda have in making contacts with the accused outside of the courtroom-where there already is a full-blown hearing pending in the courts? Worse, Zaldy Ampatuan still has to be arraigned because of the pendency of a petition with the Court of Appeals where he is still questioning his inclusion as an accused in the criminal case. Palace officials, especially Secretary Lacierda, himself a lawyer, should, know that anything that he says may have an impact on the on-going proceedings at the CA. Our worst fear is that the Justices of the CA may read Lacierda’s and Robredo’s actuations to mean that the Palace already considers Zaldy as an asset. This may affect their decision in the pending petition.
I stress furthermore that because of the pendency of the criminal case and the CA petition, no one in the palace, specially a spokesperson or the DILG Secretary, should take cognizance of this matter. This issue is within the jurisdiction of the DOJ because it is the only agency tasked both with the prosecution of the criminal case and in opposing the CA Petition.
We maintain that Zaldy’s recent antics and the information that he has been releasing forms part of a well-orchestrated campaign to exonerate Zaldy from the murder charges. Proof of this is the statement of Atty Sigfrid Fortun, counsel for Andal Sr., that it was wrong for Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to reject Zaldy’s testimony before hearing what he has to say. This is not the conduct expected from the lawyer of a father about to be implicated by his son.
We also reiterate our concern that the Ampatuans may have regained their influence in Malacanang through Lacierda and Robredo. While we were in the dark on how the dreaded clan may have succeeded at penetrating the P Noy administration, the statement sand actuations of Lacierda now explains how this has happened. Lacierda should know that Zaldy precisely wants a bridge to the President only because he wants something in return for his exposes. It is naïve for anyone to think otherwise. Our position: Zaldy should speak the truth if he wants to. But this should not have an impact on his culpability on the country’s worse massacre.