How lawyers' rift may affect Ampatuan massacre case

By Lore Mae L. Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at Aug 06 2014 10:11 PM | Updated as of Aug 07 2014 06:11 AM

COTABATO CITY - The wife of one of the victims in the Maguindanao massacre fears that the case may be affected by the rift between government and private prosecutors.

Monette Salaysay, wife of slain journalist Nap Salaysay, said if there is truth to the accusation of private prosecutor Nena Santos that Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan had a meeting with the Ampatuan lawyers, Santos should present evidence and prove that state prosecutors received bribes from the lawyers of the accused.

Salaysay said the conviction of those behind the massacre will be delayed because of the rift between prosecutors.

She said she is already satisfied with how pieces of evidence against the Ampatuans were presented in court, and presentation of more evidence will only prolong the trial.

"Satisfied na ako dahil sa lahat ng witnesses, iisa lang ang itinuturo -- iyung mga akusado," she said.

Santos has slammed the state prosecutors' move to rest its case against some of the accused, saying that she still wants to present more evidence and witnesses to the court to strengthen the case.

According to Salaysay, she will only believe Santos' allegations of bribery if the accused in the Maguindanao massacre case will not be convicted.

"Depende na sa kalalabasan ng kaso. If sakali ma-acquit ang kaso at di ma-convict ang mga akusado, paano ako maniniwala sa batas natin," she said.

In tears, she said pain and anger still remain five years after the massacre. Only by serving justice in the case will acceptance begin, she said.

Salaysay urged President Benigno Aquino III to help them bring justice to the victims.