Arraignment of 2 Ampatuan clan members sought


MANILA, Philippines—State prosecutors have asked a Quezon City court to arraign two members of the Ampatuan clan charged with multiple murder in connection with the Maguindanao massacre, saying the Court of Appeals had found nothing wrong with the preliminary investigation and there was no reason to further delay the arraignment.

The prosecution, led by Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Ma. Emilia Victorio, also opposed a motion for bail filed by Anwar Ampatuan and Akmad Ampatuan Sr.

The panel said there was “no irregularity” in the preliminary investigation as ruled by the Court of Appeals in upholding the findings of probable cause against the accused.

Staff of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Regional Trial Court Branch 221 received the pleading on Monday.

“Finding that there was no irregularity in the proceedings at the prosecutorial stage, there is no more reason why their arraignment will not push through,  more so that they have been harping on the so-called violation of their right to speedy trial,” the prosecution’s six-page motion read.

In the same pleading, the prosecutors also voiced their opposition to both accused’s motion for bail, arguing that multiple murder is a heinous crime and a non-bailable offense.

Members of the Ampatuan clan led by Andal Ampatuan Jr. are among 196 people accused of carrying out the November 23, 2009 massacre in which  57 people, including more than 30, journalists and media workers, were killed in Maguindanao.

Akmad is a cousin of Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his brother, Zaldy, a former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, who along with their father, are also accused in the case.

In March, both Akmad andAnwar filed a motion asking permission to post bail for their provisional liberty.

In their motion filed through defense counsel  Paris Real, the accused alleged that there was no evidence on record to implicate them in the massacre.

However, the prosecution argued that the two accused were positively identified by several witnesses as “co-conspirators and principal participants” in the carnage.

They added that the issue of granting bail was within the court’s discretion and that merely denying the charges would “crumble in the face of the overwhelming evidence so far presented.’

The prosecutors asked to be allowed to present evidence in opposition for the motion for bail.

Meanwhile, the state prosecutors also asked the court to junk the pleading of an accused civilian questioning his indictment for the massacre, claiming he was mistakenly identified.

In a separate six-page opposition, Victorio et al sought for the denial of Kasim T. Lingkong’s motion for judicial determination of probable cause for lack of merit.

The prosecution pointed out that two witnesses had identified the accused as among those involved in the massacre and that there was probable cause to charge him.

“For this alone and even more, the instant motion of the accused should be denied outright,” they said.

Lingkong, a.k.a. Abdulkadir Saludin, earlier questioned his indictment as Saludin said he was  not the Lingkong on the prosecution list.

He was earlier charged in RTC Branch 18 in Midsayap, North Cotabato, for another offense but was later ordered released by RTC Branch 24.

The accused was however committed to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City because of an arrest warrant issued by the Quezon City court for his alleged involvement in the Maguindanao massacre.

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  • mel bercel

    this is a typical example of philippine justice…slow…so many technicalities…hintayan ng bayaran… all possible corruption activities from small to big time are part of the picture of this crime of the century.
    may be the bit players have sufferred enough. plea bargaining is in order to nail the big crocks and the masterminds.  let the bit palyers plea bargain for merciful and proper punishment by pleading guilty in exchange for their testimonies. i feel much will be accomplished going this route than trying them all at the same time. those who plea bargain and plead guilty for the crime should be separated in other jail cells where they will be given the proper treatment of a witness akin to a whistle blower and protection under the witness protection program until the conclusion of the case. when the trial is over they can be given probation and leave somewhere whey are not susceptible to revenge. beside, speed it up with using of multiple judges, they plead guilty infront of the judge, narrate their particiapation..the who, the what, the why, the how, the where, the when and let their testimonies be used against the big participants, those who would remain in jail for life. by this time i think the prosecutors know who are the small fish and the big fish in this case.

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