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Di nga?! Sal Panelo, Ampatuan’s ex-lawyer, vows justice for Maguindanao massacre victims

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No less than the lawyer who represented the primary suspects in the grisly 2009 Maguindanao Massacre assured the victims’ families of justice even if he stressed that his former clients should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Salvador Panelo, who has been designated as the spokesperson of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte, said the next administration will ensure justice will be served for the 58 victims who died in the massacre allegedly masterminded by members of the Ampatuan family.

“Ako na mismo ang nagsasabi na we will make sure justice will be given to everyone, including the victims of the Maguindanao massacre,” he said on Thursday (May 26).

At the sidelines of the canvassing of votes at Batasang Pambansa, Panelo also took the opportunity to defend himself against criticism that he is not fitting to be Duterte’s spokesperson because of his role in defending the Ampatuans in the massacre trial.

“Walang basis [‘yung accusation against me]. Lahat ng abugado at may obligasyong mag-represent ng mga akusado,” he said.

Panelo said lawyers have “no choice” but to defend their client.

“Hindi ka puwedeng mamili eh. Basta nakalagay sa Saligang Batas na may karapatan ang lahat ng akusado. Pinagpapalagay kang inosente,” he said.

Panelo earlier said he’s no longer defending the Ampatuans in the case “for personal reasons.”