VP Binay confident that gov’t prosecutors will adhere to the rule of law

Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today expressed full support for the efforts of government prosecutors to bring to justice all those who have violated the law, and expressed confidence they will perform their functions in keeping with the rule of law.

But Binay’s spokesman Joey Salgado said, “Vice President Binay also wishes to remind the Secretary of Justice that the presumption of innocence is enshrined in the Constitution. That some personalities involved in the PDAF controversy are his political allies is incidental. This Constitutional right extends to all, allies and foes alike. This is what the Vice President fought for as a human rights lawyer- along with countless others- during martial law. This is the Vice President’s personal crusade.”

In a statement, Salgado said “As a lawyer, he (Binay) wishes to emphasize that only the courts can decide who can qualify as a state witness in criminal cases. There is a process that must be observed. Government prosecutors must first file a motion in court to discharge the would-be state witness from the rest of the accused and for the same person to be declared a state witness. The law also requires that for one to qualify as a state witness, he or she should be the least guilty and the evidence of the prosecution is weak thereby needing the testimony of the would-be state witness.”

“Therefore, Vice President Binay feels that any declaration that a person will be a state witness prior to approval of the court would be premature, misleading and not in keeping with the rule of the law,” he added.

Salgado also said that “the statement of the Vice President was intended as a reminder for the DOJ that there are legal processes to be followed and this administration is committed to the rule of law.”

“Lastly, the Vice President knows that our government prosecutors have their work cut out for them. They must erase any doubts that Ruby Tuason is qualified to be state witness,” he added.#