National Anti-Poverty Commission Chairperson Liza Maza
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte expects obedience to the law from all of his Cabinet members.
Thus, Malacañang is calling on National Anti-Poverty Commission Chairperson Liza Maza to surrender and face the charges filed against her in the court of Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.
“She has to respect the rule of law, I ask her to surrender. Face the charges against her, prove her innocence and I’m sure that she has no reason to worry about the facts that our court can be relied upon for the impartial decision,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a briefing with reporters on Tuesday (July 31).
Maza was among the leftist figures appointed by President Duterte to his Cabinet at the beginning of his term to show the improving ties between the government and the communist rebels.
But according to Roque, since he was appointed by the President as Presidential Spokesperson, he has never noticed Maza’s presence in Cabinet meetings. Roque has been in Malacañang since October 2017.
Roque, however, clarified that Maza remains in her post in the Cabinet but is expected to surrender and prove her innocence before the authorities.
But if she remains in hiding, Roque said she will be considered a fugitive and the President will have no other choice but to act and place someone who would take over Maza’s responsibilities as the anti-poverty chair.
Malacañang, however, stressed that the Duterte administration has nothing to do with the sudden issuance of warrants of arrest against the leftist leaders.
“It’s been in court, and it’s a warrant of arrest issued by the court, not by the executive branch. We don’t have the power to issue warrants of arrest,” he explained.
Maza and former congressmen Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño, Rafael Mariano, among other left-leaning personalities were accused in 2006 of abducting and killing political rivals.
Nevertheless, Malacañang assures Maza of respect once she decides to surrender. – Rosalie Coz / Marje Pelayo