Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bayan Muna condemns the DoJ move to release the Ampatuans, Joins the family and friends of victims in seeking justice

Bayan Muna condemns the DoJ move to release the Ampatuans,
Joins the family and friends of victims in seeking justice

Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, a leading human rights and press freedom advocate himself, marched with the family, friends and members of the National Press Club (NPC) in the rally held today. Casiño condemned the move to release Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan by Arroyo's Dept. of Justice (DoJ) as a reward for the Ampatuans' support for the Arroyos and a mockery of the criminal justice system.

"The move to release Zaldy and Akmad Ampatuan clearly proves that the victims and families of the Ampatuan Massacre cannot get justice under the Arroyo administration. We are outraged over the Arroyo DoJ's move to drop murder charges against the two Ampatuans. We suspect that these favorable decisions are rewards for their close ties with the Arroyos," Casiño said.

Casiño called on the public to be vigilant and warned that Arroyo and the Ampatuans could be plotting another round of election fraud in Maguindanao like what happened in previous elections.

"Bayan Muna has been saying all along that the charge of rebellion dismissed earlier was only intended to justify martial law, as Arroyo was testing the waters for a nationwide declaration. It was destined to be dismissed because no judge would believe that Arroyo's allies, who were armed by the government, would rebel against her. We demand that the fiscals who filed the weak rebellion case be charged for the fiasco. Let us join hands with the media, friends and families of the victims of the massacre in seeking justice," Casiño added.

"We are alarmed over the possibility of Arroyo using the Ampatuans again in committing massive election fraud and violence this May elections. How can justice be served if this government keeps rewarding, instead of making accountable, those accused of heinous crimes just because they are allied with the Arroyos?" concluded Casiño.

Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said "the Ampatuans' lawyers ought to be the ones filing the motions to dismiss. It's not Arroyo's nor Sec. Agra's job to do the lawyering for nor adjudge the Ampatuans' innocence."

"While the Arroyo government persists in filing criminal charges against the legitimate opposition like Satur Ocampo and Bayan Muna members despite absence of evidence, it is quick to whitewash cases for its allies like the Ampatuans. The handling judge should preempt this injustice and should not allow the charges to be dropped," Colmenares added.

"Bayan Muna calls on independent state prosecutors in the DoJ to publicly come out and protest against the prostitution of the Justice Department to favor political allies of the president," concluded Colmenares.###