Ver Says Supreme Court Ignored His Rights
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ Armed Forces chief Gen. Fabian C. Ver said today the Supreme Court violated his rights by stopping a trial court from rendering judgment in the Benigno Aquino assassination case without hearing him or the 25 other defendants.
In a statement released by his lawyer to the Philippine News Agency, Ver said he plans to ask the Supreme Court Thursday to lift the restraining order against the trial court and call a public hearing on a petition to declare a mistrial.
Ver, 24 other soldiers and a civilian are charged in connection with the Aug. 21, 1983 slaying of Aquino and Rolando Galman, the man the military claims shot Aquino as the opposition leader returned to Manila from voluntary U.S. exile.
The trial court was to issue its verdict today but the Supreme Court ordered it Tuesday not to take further action until the high court rules on the mistrial petition, which accuses President E. Ferdinand Marcos of influencing the case.
The petition filed by Galman’s relatives and two dozen prominent citizens also accused the three-judge trial court of conniving with prosecutors to ensure all 26 defendants’ acquittal.
In his statement, Ver complained he and the others were not given a chance to present their arguments at a hearing the Supreme Court held Monday on whether to issue the restraining order.
The petition only listed the trial court and the government ombudsman Bernardo Fernandez, whose assistants handled the prosecution as respondents, but the Supreme Court ordered the petitioners Monday to add the names of the 26 defendants.
The restraining order, according to Ver, was a ″shock″ to him because it resulted in ″substantial prejudice″ to his rights and those of his co- accused.
Ver accused the petitioners of deliberately omitting the names of the defendants ″to deprive us of the opportunity to oppose the restraining order.″
The Supreme Court has not indicated when it will rule on the mistrial petition or if it will hold a public hearing.