Published: October 30, 2010
Manila, Philippines — Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Friday that the investigation made indicated that the post-bar blast may have been carefully planned by the suspects.
The Justice Secretary also said that even if she respects the defense of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) fraternity in which Anthony Nepomuceno fraternally belongs, the fraternity should also respect the system of justice in the Philippines. She warned them that the justice department will not hold back its decision–should the suspects be found guilty–even if several influential politicians belong to the same fraternity.
Anthony Nepomuceno, the suspect, is a confessed member of APO fraternity that upholds its name having several prominent people in Philippine society and politics which includes the Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Binay openly escorted Nepomuceno to the Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday, asserting that the suspect is innocent from committing the crime that injured almost 50 young law graduates; two of which lost their legs.
“There are indications, I think, that the incident was planned, which is why [the investigation] has to be pursued,” De Lima told the press on Friday.
“It is important that we go deeper and find out exactly if there are other people involved in the incident especially that Nepomuceno is denying that he is the guy despite the positive identification by witnesses of the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation),” she added.
Although De Lima said that the authorities have already acquired of the two possible suspects, she declined to give further details on the idea that the blast on Taft Avenue was premeditated. Moreover, she reiterated that the NBI will not dwell on the “frat angle” rather to pursue the identification of other suspects as the investigation progresses.
The “frat angle” may be raised and considered, however, it still has to be confirmed.
“The NBI is even hesitant to be mouthing that motive,” De Lima said. She even defended the bureau revealing to the media that she was satisfied with the outcome of the initial investigation especially when asked to give comments on APO’s all-out support for Nepomuceno.
“That is their prerogative if they feel that they have to really help their brod, for as long as they do it within bounds of the law and ethics. I have nothing against it as long as they also respect the process of this office in the course of the conduct of the preliminary investigation,” she said. “My only appeal is… for them to avoid twisting or slanting the angles. Ang importante dito gusto ng Presidente [Aquino] malaman ang katotohanan at mapanagot ang dapat mapanagot.” [What is important here is that the President wants to know the truth and hold accountable those who are responsible].
De Lima assured that the public that the Department of Justice would not be influenced by anyone even if he/she is a high-ranking politician in the country. With its pursuit to identify all the suspects and bring down justice to the responsible, the DOJ is ready to pursue the preliminary investigation.
“The Department will just do its job because it is the mandate of the DOJ to do this and determine probable cause and prosecute. Wala kaming sinasanto [We have no sacred cows]. Under my watch, I am not going to tolerate those things [such as] pressure [from anybody]. We cannot succumb to pressures,” De Lima said
A panel of prosecutors will be appointed to conduct the preliminary investigation, so De Lima said she is “hands off” of it. “I just stepped in when there was already a suspect. My role there was to really hasten the flushing out of the suspect,” she added.
The NBI has file charges of multiple attempted murders and multiple frustrated murders against the primary suspect, Nepomuceno.
As the fragments of the grenade used at the blast site, Cecilio Zamora, Jr. said that the suspects were planning on inflicting more and severe injuries for using such a lethal weapon. He also shared his confidence that the NBI has gotten the right suspects based on eyewitnesses’ accounts.
Image Credit: OFWNow.com