Suspect in bar exam blast wants DOJ chief gagged

The suspect in the 2010 bar exam bombing has asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to stop talking about the case.

In his four-page motion for inhibition, Anthony Nepomuceno said that by giving updates on the investigation of the incident, De Lima has been conditioning the public that he is guilty.

“Numerous media pronouncements by Secretary De Lima had already condemned me as guilty of the alleged offenses,” Nepomuceno said.

He wants De Lima out of the case and asked that the preliminary investigation of the case be transferred to the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office, which has equal authority to handle the preliminary investigation.

Filed last November 10 before the Department of Justice (DOJ), Nepomuceno complained that “her public statements on TV, newspapers and similar means had already predetermined the outcome of the preliminary investigation that her office is now conducting.”

Lawyers Jeffrtey John Zarate and Hilda A. Sacay-Clave said “such statements are clearly a transgression of Anthony’s constitutionally guaranteed right to due process and presumption of innocence.”

Nepomuceno argued that with De Lima’s acts and pronouncements, she has assumed the role of a partial investigator, prosecutor, judge and even executioner, and has already punished him and his family in her capacity as “spokesman for the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI.)”

He said De Lima’s statements virtually take the form on orders to her NBI subordinates to follow her command and “to ensure the finding of probable cause against Anthony.”

Due process requires that the person who presides over a proceeding, including a preliminary investigation, be neutral and an impartial judge, Nepomuceno’s lawyers argued.

Nepomuceno demanded that De Lima stop meddling with the case since she has lost her objectivity and impartiality.

“She must also appear to be impartial as an assurance that her decision will be just,” he said.

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