December 10, 2009
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan assails the government’s mishandling of the Maguindanao massacre, particularly the imposition of Martial Law and the violation of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
“They are clearly violating the 1987 Constitution. The government says that search warrants are not necessary under Martial Law. The Constitution only suspends the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, not the bill of rights. Our justice department is not knowledgeable of our laws and constitution, and that is alarming.”
Pangilinan fears that under the current circumstances, the cases filed against the suspects may be nullified due to technicalities.
“This government is taking legal shortcuts, and this can be fatal to the proper prosecution of the cases against the Ampatuans. Evidence seized by way of an illegal search cannot be used as evidence against the accused. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the right against illegal searches and seizure is suspended. Martial Law does not suspend the bill of rights. Is this a case of incompetence, or is it deliberate bungling of the case to favor the accused?”
“The AFP admits no clash with armed groups. PNP confirms only one clash, but no casualties. No homes burned and no attacks on government installations. Where’s the rebellion? The executive does not hold sole privilege in interpreting the law. That is dangerous. That is why Martial Law is unconstitutional. We want to enforce the law. But in enforcing it, we must not break the law.”