In an online forum hosted by the Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network (FMFA), Maguindanao Massacre victims’ lawyer Atty. Nena Santos said that there must be vigilance in the appeal process as she is “nervous” that Solicitor General Jose Calida is now in charge.
Challenging the decision of Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, Andal Ampatuan, Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan appealed their murder convictions straight to the Court of Appeals (CA). By mandate, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will represent the government – the “People” in People vs Ampatuan – in the appeal process.
“Kailangan pa nating bantayan, kasi ang appeal ngayon, nakita niyo naman kung sino ang lawyer ng government; the lawyer of the government is the Solicitor General. Masyado akong kabado sa Solicitor General natin ha, personal na pananaw ko yan. Sana naman ay mabantayan din natin sa Court of Appeals na,” said Santos.
In 2017, Calida advocated for the acquittal of Janet Lim Napoles’ conviction for serious illegal detention. The CA later on acquitted Napoles.
Calida, accused of turning his back on the government, defended his move as his duty as Tribune of the People, protected by jurisprudence that allows the Solicitor General to take a position adverse to the government if it’s in the best interest of the state.
He is also siding with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. in his ongoing electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.