Provincial Board (PB) Member Ricky Masamayor said he did nothing wrong when he asked for a list of lawyers and judges in Bohol who have been taking on drug cases and acquitting drug suspects, respectively, even after drawing flak from the legal community for his statement.
Masamayor, who chairs the PB’s peace and order committee, said in an interview over station dyRD’s Inyong Alagad program on Friday that he found no reason to issue an apology as he had no ill intentions for issuing the statement.
“Lisod kaayo ng mo apologize ta ana na wa man tay gibuhat na daotan, wala koy gisulti para mo harass or pakauwawan sila,” he said. “Ang akoa, nangayo ko og lista para magpatabang.”
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bohol Chapter on Thursday issued a statement condemning “in the strictest term” Masamayor’s statement which they said was “an attempt to prevent them from performing their constitutional duty of dispensing justice without fear or favor.”
The IBP said that Masamayor’s statement was an attempt to “intimidate” and “pressure” judges to always convict drug suspects or otherwise face public judgement regardless of the merits of the case.
“It is basic and elementary principle that in a criminal case, if the prosecution fails to prove the guilt of an accused beyond reasonable doubt, the judge hearing the case must render an acquittal,” the IBP said.
According to Masamayor, there was nothing wrong with his statement, which was published in a news article online by a radio station (not dyRD), as he did not name any judge or lawyer.
The provincial legislator said that he wanted to know the names of judges and lawyers who handle drug-related cases to ask assistance from them in mounting cases against drug suspects, particularly those recently arrested and were allegedly caught in possession of over P40 million worth of shabu, the province’s largest drug haul.
He thought that legal minds adept and experienced in handling drug cases would be able to assist the government in prosecuting drug suspects.
“Maayo ang among intention ni PD [Bohol police chief Col. Joselito Clarito], wala miy dautan, or intention na dili nila ganahan…magpatabang mao ang among plano kay mahadlok mi na ma-dismiss na pud…sila man g’yuy sweto,” Masamayor said.
In the same interview, Masamayor was asked if the acquittal of drug suspects was at an alarming rate for it to prompt him to make the statement on lawyers and judges. He said he was yet to discuss and review the issue with Clarito.
Meanwhile, Boholano IBP national secretary Roland Inting also fumed over the provincial legislator’s statement, calling it “seditious” and an “intrusion” into the function of the judiciary.
“Nangasuko ang mga abogado, apil gud pud ko. Nganong hilabtan man mi,” said Inting. “Imong gi sugnoran ang emosyon sa katawhan batok sa class of citizens, the lawyers of this land.”
Inting said that the issue was “no joke” and he will be bringing it up with IBP’s national office.
According to Inting, accused individuals have the right to defend themselves through due process while lawyers can freely choose what cases to take.
“You cannot deprive a person of his life, liberty and property og di mo agi og kaso, unya kining mga abogado ayaw ninyo’g but-i kung unsa na kaso ilang dawaton kay ila ng duty.
When a lawyer takes a case, it does not mean that he agrees with the crime or act, but he is protecting and defending the right of a person to a lawyer as provided and mandated by our laws,” Inting said.
He explained that drug suspects get acquitted due to weak cases, not because judges favor criminality.
“The judge cannot do otherwise but to follow and obey the law. Kung unsay sulti sa balaod unya wa ka mo tunong diha sa maoy gisulti sa balaod, unsa may buhaton sa huwis,” Inting said. (R. Tutas)