Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) Chief Atty. Persida Acosta announced to the press that the suspect in the Bulacan Massacre will not get any help from their office. Atty. Acosta said that their office is not only for the accused but it is for the people who need help and it is based on who comes first. She claims it is the victim’s family who needs them and the PAO Chief also said that they want to give justice to the victims especially to the children who were minors, one of them barely one-year-old, killed by drug addicts. Atty. Acosta also said that she believes that illegal drug use is the root cause of the bad things people do.
PAO Chief Atty. Presida Acosta’s statement to deny the accused of legal counsel seems to violate his rights as per the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines Article III, Section 12:
“… to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice. If the person cannot afford the services of counsel, he must be provided with one. These rights cannot be waived except in writing and in the presence of counsel.”
No matter how heinous the crime a party is accused of, they are entitled to their right to counsel. Furthermore her assumption of the accused’s guilt seems to be contrary to being presumed innocent until proven guilty as per Article III Section 14 Paragraphs 1-2 of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines:
“(1) No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law. (2) In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is proved, and shall enjoy the right to be heard by himself and counsel, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him, to have a speedy, impartial, and public trial, to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf.”
The victims were killed inside their home in San Jose Del Monte Bulacan last Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Estrella and Aurora were found lifeless and naked in different parts of the house. The three children were then found inside a locked room also dead from stab wounds. They were found by Carlos, Estrella’s husband who just came home from his night duty as a security guard in a bank in Makati City.
One of the three suspects surrendered himself to the authorities as his conscience was haunting him and he regretted the crime that he did. The suspect said in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN “Wala lang po, parang trip-trip lang… Naisipan lang pasukin, ganoon. Hindi naman po sinadya namin na talagang — kusa lang pong pinasok,” . He also said that they were under the influence of drugs that’s why they did the crime.
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