• DOJ junks raps vs. former Batangas vice governor

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    THE Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday junked the criminal raps filed against former Vice Gov. Richard “Ricky” Recto of Batangas in connection with the June 2006 blast at the Batangas Provincial Capitol that left two people dead and seriously injured then Gov. Armando Sanchez.

    The DOJ dismissed the charges for murder, frustrated murder, and damage to property against Recto for lack of probable cause.

    In a 12-page resolution dated December 26, Senior Deputy State Prosecutor Theodore Villanueva, but was released with the media on Tuesday, it granted Recto’s motion for reconsideration which sought a reversal of the justice department’s indictment.

    The DOJ gave a nod as to the “non-existence of probable cause to hold him for trial for the crimes committed.”

    “Perusal of the statements submitted by the investigating police authorities show that even if there was really a conversation that transpired between the military officers and [Richard] Recto on how to destroy a vehicle and whether ‘C-4,’ a plastic explosive is sufficient to effectively carry out the purpose, still as based on the very same statements, there was never any meeting of the minds, no concrete agreement or plan was arrived at, no conspiracy was ever established, no definite personalities were identified that would be the subject and as to who would effectuate such plans were discussed.

    “All statements issued by the military officers are based on hearsay evidence as told to them,” the resolution reads.

    The justice department also pointed out that the witnesses used were not present during the “actual planting of the bomb” which exploded the former governor’s humvee vehicle.

    There was also no evidence presented to prove that the military officers “conspired to assassinate then Governor Sanchez.”

    Recto has no knowledge and participation in execution of the assassination attempt on Sanchez, the department said.

    Some of the DOJ witnesses said that the bombing was part of a plot by disgruntled soldiers of the Makabayang Kawal Pilipino to bomb public places in order “to destabilize the government,” and that Sanchez was among those targeted because he was corrupt, a jueteng lord, and contributed campaign funds to former President Gloria Arroyo during the 2004 elections.

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