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It’s final. Lacson cleared of Kuratong rubout case

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld with finality its decision in clearing then police general and now Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and several others of criminal liability in connection with the controversial Kuratong Baleleng case in 1995. The SC affirmed a 2003 ruling of a Quezon City court dismissing the multiple murder case against Lacson and his men, for allegedly “summary” executed 11 members of the notorious Kuratong Baleleng gang in 1995. In its resolution, the SC denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution panel handling the case through the office of the Solicitor General in December last year. The SC held that the “basic issues raised (in the MR) have been passed upon by the Court and no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision.” The high court stood by the ruling it promulgated on November 13, 2012 which sustained the decision of Quezon City regional trial court Branch 81 Judge Ma. Theresa Dela Torre – Yadao to junk the charges for lack of probable cause. As in the previous voting, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio inhibited from the case due to “prior inhibition in related cases.” Lacson was implicated in the case as the head of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, whose operatives gunned down 11 members of the Kuratong Baleleng gang on May 18, 1995 along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City. The relatives of the gang alleged that the incident was a rubout, while the police insisted that it was shootout. The magistrates again unanimously agreed in saying that Judge Yadao did not commit grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the case. The SC added that there was nothing wrong in the RTCA’S move to examine the inconsistencies in the testimonies of witnesses presented by the prosecution. The SC added that it would have not ruled on the merits of the case by citing a technicality – the petitioner’s failure to follow court procedures on appeal by filing their petition for certiorari directly to the SC when it should have been filed before the Court of Appeals first. However, it explained that the “immense public interest in these cases, the considerable length of time that has passed since the crime took place, and the numerous times these cases have come before this Court probable warrant a waiver of such procedural lapse.” Apart from Lacson, also cleared in the case were former National Capital Region command Chief Supt. Jewel Canson, former traffic management command chief Sr. Supt. Francisco Zubia Jr. and former criminal investigation command head Chief Supt. Romeo Acop.  
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