Sunday Feb, 23 2020 10:06:03 PM

Maguindanao prosecutors win 12 big cases in 12 months

GOVERNANCE/POLITICS • 09:45 AM Thu Oct 3, 2019
John M. Unson
The feat Maguindanao prosecutors under Rohairah Lao had in the past 12 months is something new. (John Unson)

COTABATO CITY ---The Maguindanao provincial prosecution office had set a record feat for having prosecuted successfully 12 high-profile crimes, including multiple incestuous rapes, in the past 12 months.

Senior judicial officials here told reporters Thursday the 12 convictions from between August 15, 2018 to August 12, 2019 was something never achieved before by Maguindanao’s PPO since the creation of the province almost five decades ago.

The PPO is led by Rohairah Lao, a Maranaw lawyer who got to its helm only in 2016.

A matrix obtained Thursday from the Regional Trial Court Branch 27, under the 12th Judicial Region, indicated that three of the 12 cases the CPO had won during the period involved a father who raped three daughters, one of whom he sired a child, while two others were separate murder offenses, one involving three Moro men.

“Credit has to go to law-enforcement agencies that worked hard to build airtight cases against offenders and to all personnel of our office,” Lao said Thursday.

Lao said Maguindanao’s PPO had won three more convictions on Wednesday, the first for the last quarter of 2019.

“We hope to secure more in the coming months,” she said.

Some of the 12 cases the Maguindanao PPO had successfully prosecuted in the past 12 months were violations of Republic Act 9165, also known as the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and RA 10591 that outlawed unauthorized possession of firearms.

Maguindanao, like other provinces in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, has a markedly poor record on resolution of criminal cases in local courts due to cultural ramifications condoning  “rido,” or vendetta killings, where aggrieved parties resort to retaliations to exact swift justice for affronts on clan pride and honor.

There is also a problem on cooperation of prospective witnesses to litigation of cases, particularly those involving suspects who are scions of big Moro clans led by political warlords.

Abdullah Cusain, acting executive secretary of Bangsamoro Chief Minister Hadji Ahod Ebrahim, said Thursday the BARMM leadership got elated with what could be a landmark achievement by the Maguindanao PPO.

“These are the achievements that can complement the efforts of the BARMM government to restore normalcy in underdeveloped areas in the region,” Cusain said.

Cusain said an efficient justice system can boost the efforts of the BARMM government to nip the centuries-old Moro rido culture from its bud.


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