Palace welcomes judge's statement on massacre case-A A +A
Saturday, July 7, 2012
MALACANANG lauded on Saturday the statement made by the judge handling the Maguindanao massacre case that the verdict on the suspects could be handed down before the end of the term of President Benigno Aquino III.
"We are very glad. At least she (Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court) said that she could resolve the case within this administration," Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in an interview aired over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.
"The accused filed many pleadings (so the case is being) delayed. On the part of the judge, we will just hope and pray that she will decide on the pleadings in a more expeditious manner," he said.
The government, according to Lacierda, is doing everything that justice may be served to the victims of the massacre.
He said the members of the prosecution panel, under the Department of Justice (DOJ), have been exercising all the necessary steps within their purview to be able to expedite the whole process.
He said the President remains committed to his promise to provide protection for the witnesses and the relatives of the victims.
The government had already increased the budget for the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice in a bid to provide better protection and benefits for witnesses, Lacierda said.
"We have increased the budget of the Witness Protection Program. In fact, during the last budget meeting, when Budget Secretary (Florencio) Butch Abad was presenting the budget, the President said 'can we increase further the budget for the Witness Protection Program,'" Lacierda said.
Fifty-seven people, over 30 of them were media workers, were killed in November 2009 in Maguindanao. The incident was allegedly masterminded by some members of the powerful Ampatuan clan. (SDR/Sunnex)