Thursday, March 16, 2006

DoJ should inhibit from rebellion case

6 party-list solons want DoJ to inhibit from rebellion case
First posted 03:21pm (Mla time) Mar 16, 2006
By ,

(UPDATE) CITING the Department of Justice's "lack of impartiality, extreme bias, and prejudice," the lawmakers charged with rebellion are asking the DoJ to inhibit itself from their case.

The demand by Party-list Representatives' Satur Ocampo, Joel Virador, Teodoro Casiño, Rafael Mariano, Crispin Beltran, and Liza Maza, made through their lawyer Romeo Capulong, was in reaction to a plan by the DoJ to include them on the "wanted list" of suspected coup plotters.

"In behalf of our clients and the other respondents who are similarly situated and entitled to the same rights as our clients we demand that you desist from your plan to malign, demonize, and violate the fundamental rights of our clients," Capulong said.

"Such act will result only in serious transgressions of both national laws and international covenants to which the Philippines is a signatory," Capulong said.

"Among the fundamental rights which will be violated by your "Rogues Gallery" are the right against deprivation of life and liberty without due process and the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty of the crime charged in a court of law [Article III Sections 1and 14, respectively, Philippine Constitution]," Capulong said.

"If you fail to heed our demand, we will resort to court action to restrain your patently illegal action and hold you criminally, civilly, and administratively liable," Capulong said.

Meanwhile Gonzalez remains unfazed by the threat. "They can do that, they have been threatening me for a long time. I don't get threatened easily."

"We've completely lost trust in the entire DoJ under Secretary [Raul] Gonzalez, including the public prosecutors conducting the preliminary investigation," Capulong told a press conference earlier on Thursday.

"In fact, the DoJ should self-inhibit because one party had lost confidence in the department," Capulong said.

"The moment a party loses trust in them, then it's their duty to self-inhibit," Capulong said.

"We're already seeing a pattern that people from the government are trying to influence this case. And we will expose it at a proper time," he said.

Capulong said government prosecutors should be professional "but based on their actuations, they are allowing themselves to be used."

The lawmakers had been charged in court allegedly for conspiring with the leftist and rightist groups to bring down the government.

Mariano and Maza said asking the DoJ to inhibit from their case did not mean that they were waiving their right for a
preliminary investigation.

"We are not waiving our right for the preliminary investigation but we want an impartial, neutral, independent, and objective forum," Mariano said.

"We are not running away from the preliminary investigation. We are facing the charges and we are ready to answer and demolish their false charges," Maza said.

Ocampo said the government had prejudged the case when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself said that the respondents committed a crime.

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