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Bulacan fiscals oppose appointment of ‘outsider’

MALOLOS CITY, Philippines – Ranking prosecutors in Bulacan are opposing the appointment of a private lawyer as provincial prosecutor, citing lack of experience.

They added that appointing an outsider would demoralize members of the national prosecution service of the Department of Justice (DOJ), many of whom has been serving the government for 20 years or more.

In a one-page manifesto, Bulacan prosecutors asked President Aquino to give priority to members of the national prosecution service in the province.

The manifesto was signed by Rita Gammad, senior deputy provincial prosecutor; Eduardo de la Cruz, second assistant provincial prosecutor; and Antonio Buan and Eufracio Marquez, city prosecutors of the cities of San Jose del Monte and Meycauayan, respectively.

All four ranking prosecutors have applied for the post vacated by former provincial prosecutor Alfredo Geronimo who reached his compulsory retirement last June 7.

The prosecutors insisted in their manifesto that they have been in the service for more than 20 years and have devoted their lives to serve the people.

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“Our qualifications, competency, hardwork and dedication cannot be ignored compared to an applicant/outsider who has no experience whatsoever as a government prosecutor,” the manifesto said, referring to lawyer Renato Samonte as an “outsider.”

In an interview, Buan said Samonte is a good lawyer, but he doubts his capability to handle and lead the national prosecution service in Bulacan.

“He is a very good private practitioner but he was never a prosecutor,” Buan said, adding that Samonte’s appointment will cause demoralization among members of the prosecution service.

For years, he said many of them are hoping to be promoted to a higher position, along with other lower ranking prosecutors.

“They, too, are looking forward to promotion, but it won’t happen if someone from the outside will be appointed as our chief,” he said.

Buan also clarified Samonte’s earlier statement that he has been appointed to the post vacated by Geronimo.

“As far as we are concerned, he is just a candidate because we have not seen any formal appointment,” he said.

A long-time lawyer, Samonte, who hails from Bulakan town, has an extensive law practice in Metro Manila and Central Luzon spanning three decades.

He finished A.B. Political Science at the Ateneo de Manila University and graduated from San Beda College of Law in 1980.

His skills as a trial lawyer were honed during his more than 10 years of practice at the law office of Dakila Castro where he litigated high-profile cases, including the libel case filed by then President Corazon Aquino.

Samonte is also remembered for Day 34 and 35 of the impeachment trial of former chief justice Renato Corona when he cross-examined former Manila mayor Lito Atienza in connection with the sale of the Basa-Guidote property in Legarda, Manila.

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