Speaker Belmonte calls for speedy trial

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. yesterday called for speedy trial of the Maguindanao massacre.

“The case is a test for our courts to swiftly deliver an impartial and just decision.  Our legal and judicial system is itself on trial here,” the Speaker said.

Speaking on the eve of the first year anniversary of the massacre, the Speaker noted that trial on the case has been delayed because of numerous legal manoeuvrings.  He also raised concerns about the security of witnesses.

“These unfortunate circumstances erode confidence in our legal and judicial system.  They must be countermanded by a speedy and impartial trial,” Belmonte said.

The Speaker also supported President Benigno Aquino III’s appeal for the court to allow live coverage of the trial.

“A televised trial does not ipso facto violate the rights of the accused.  In fact, live coverage of the trial should help guard against partiality on the part of the judge, and ensure stricter adherence to the tenets of legal ethics on the part of lawyers as their actions will be subject to public scrutiny,” Belmonte explained. D’Jay Lazaro

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