Carbon nixes trial by batches for 130 MNLF siege suspects PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 April 2016 11:32

By JASMINE MOHAMMADSALI

City Legal Officer Jesus Carbon Jr. has expressed opposition on holding the trials of members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF) accused in the 2013 siege by batches, explaining that this is geared towards the release of the accused for lesser crimes.

“We don’t look favorably at this trial in batches because our contention is that there was overall conspiracy to do these things [siege] and you cannot prove conspiracy if you have trial in batches,” Atty. Carbon said on Monday.

According to Carbon, who attended the final pre-trial of the case in Manila last March, the trial judge intends to speed up the case by holding partial and separate trials, and render partial decisions for the MNLF accused who surrendered to then police chief Malayo, those who allege that they were merely invited to a peace rally, and those who allege that they were merely boat operators.

“The trial judge is trying her best to speed up the cases but we don’t take favorable view on this because we perceive this is just geared towards the release of many accused,” he said.

Atty. Carbon, a former trial court judge, said cases will be filed to stop the proceedings should the trial judge force the conduct of trial in batches.

“There was an overall conspiracy, it did not happen unplanned. Several people coming from different directions converging to the city, there should be conspiracy,” he said.

There are around 130 accused and at least 365 witnesses to be presented by the prosecution team, and this is why the trial may possibly go even slower than that of the Maguindanao massacre case, explained Carbon.

To date, trial by teleconferencing has been rolled out, and the city maintains its stand versus any plea bargaining agreement.

“The city is not inclined to enter into this,” Carbon said. “That is not the desire of the people of Zamboanga.”— Jasmine Mohammadsali