Maguindanao massacre witness recants testimony, apologizes to families of victims
Maris Federez • June 24, 2019 • 2284
Eight years since he faced the court, prosecution witness Lagudin Alfonso offered his apologies to the families of the victims of the Maguindanao massacre.
This was after he recanted the testimonies he made eight years ago wherein he claimed to witness the events leading to the said crime.
In his sworn testimony, Alfonso claimed, “What I said in court in November 2011 is not true. I was only forced to say what I had said in court because there was a threat in my life and my family.”
With the retraction, Alfonso also apologized to those whose lives got affected with what he stated then.
“I am very sorry for those who suffered because of the lie I said. I only did and said those because of my fear of my life and that of my family,” he added.
The families of the massacre victims were shocked by this turn of event.
One of them is Juliet Evardo, mother of UNTV editor Julito Evardo
“Nagsisinungaling iyan ngayon. Kung anuman ang kadahilanan siya lang ang nakakaalam baka may pera iyan diyan. Hindi natin alam [He is lying now. Whatever his reasons are, only he knows. There might be money involved now. We do not know],” said Mrs. Evardo.
She also appealed to Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes for justice.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, in a text message, expressed hope that the hearing on the case will be finished within this year.
“Trial will end this year. Promulgation maybe next year,” said DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra. (with details from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and Atty. Jude Sabio have submitted their counter-affidavits for the kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges filed against them.
Based on Trillanes’ counter-affidavit, submitted on Tuesday (October 22), the senator belied the accusations of businesswoman Guillermina Barrido.
Trillanes said Barrido reportedly admitted she was lying based on her statement in April 2017.
“Lumalabas doon na talagang hindi siya kinidnap at unang-una, mayroon siyang cellphone (It showed that she wasn’t really kidnapped and first of all she had a cellphone),” he said.
According to Barrido’s accusations, Trillanes along with the other accused have allegedly kidnapped and detained her in a convent in 2016. She also alleged that she was forced to sign a “ready-made” affidavit against President Rodrigo Duterte.
Meanwhile, Sabio said he saw Barrido twice inside the convent and one time at a mall, proving that she was not forcefully detained.
“Hindi ako pwedeng mag-kidnap tsaka mag-detain ng isang tao para magtestigo laban sa Pangulong Duterte (I cannot kidnap and detain a person to testify against President Duterte),” Sabio said. “Hindi iyan ang trabaho ng isang abogadong tulad ko (That is not the job of a lawyer like me).”
Sabio will also submit the exchange of emails between him and Barrido including videos to support his statement.
Barrido became a witness when a complaint was filed in the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the President, but she reversed her statement saying she was bribed to testify against the President.—AAC (with reports from April Cenedoza)
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on Wednesday (Oct. 16) requested the Department of Justice (DOJ) to give protection to the witnesses in the Agaw-Bato operations of the so-called “ninja cops”.
In a phone interview, Blue Ribbon Committee chairman Sen. Richard Gordon said they want to ensure that the testimonies of the witnesses are filed before the Court.
“[It] means that they will go to the court and they will execute an affidavit there. And in which case, if anything happens, hopefully not, that will be admissible in court,” Gordon added.
Among the witnesses that Gordon was referring to were the barangay officials that Johnson Lee sought help from when he was arrested in the police buy-bust operation in November 2010 in the province of Pampanga.
Other witnesses were the police personnel in Mexico, Pampanga, where the alleged cover-up took place when the barangay officials brought Lee to the station.
Lee reportedly paid P50-M to the police for his release.
After releasing Lee, the police arrested another Chinese suspect.
Gordon said they will leave it to the DOJ to determine whether these officers deserve to be under the government’s witness protection program (WPP).
The senator also said they will let Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, retired police Rudy Lacadin, and the other police officers decide if they want to undergo the said process.
Justice Sec. Guevarra said they shall await the Senate’s formal request before they set into action.
Meanwhile, Gordon said they will try their best to complete the committee report on their investigation on the said illegal operation in the police force.
The Blue Ribbon Committee chairman said that included in the report are the possible recommendations as to who must be held liable on the said illegal activity.
He stressed that resigned-Philippine National Police (PNP) chief PGen. Oscar Albayalde will still be facing charges relative to the said controversy.
“Tanungin ninyo ako kung pwede pa siyang kasuhan (Ask me if he can be charged). The answer is yes. Tanungin ninyo ko kung criminal. (Ask me if it’s a criminal [case]). The answer could be yes, kung may enough evidence kami (if we have enough evidence). And I think we do,” Gordon said. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
The Department of Justice has begun reinvestigation of the 2013 Pampanga drug raid involving 13 cops allegedly involved in illegal drug recycling.
The 13 cops were ordered to attend the investigation and submit additional evidence.
DOJ Secretary Menardo Guevarra previously formed a three-member panel to reinvestigate the case where around 160 kilos of suspected illegal drugs were seized during an operation in Pampanga.
The Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG), meanwhile, requested the DOJ panel for more time to submit records about alleged drug lord Johnson Lee and Ding Wengkun.
The DOJ panel will give the PNP-CIDG five days to submit additional evidence and supplemental affidavit.
Meanwhile, PMaj. Rodney Baloyo was given a subpoena by the DOJ for not attending the preliminary investigation.
Baloyo is currently at New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa after the Senate cited him in contempt for allegedly lying during a hearing.
“We still issued subpoena to the said respondent and even wrote a letter to the Senate president asking permission for him to be allowed in this proceedings,” according to state prosecutor Senior Assistant Atty. Alexander Suarez. —AAC (with reports from April Cenedoza)
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