Maguindanao massacre trial goes through light moment of colorBy Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Should it be royal blue, midnight blue or GSM blue?
A map of the province of Maguindanao ushered in a light moment in the usually serious and grim Maguindanao massacre trial as lawyers debated which color markers to use to differentiate one town from another.
Abdulrakiman Asim, officer-in-charge of the Maguindanao engineering office, took the witness stand for the prosecution on Thursday. He presented a large map of Maguindanao and its adjacent provinces that was drawn under his supervision.
The prosecution panel attempted to mark the boundaries of Maguindanao’s towns using color pens, an exercise which turned into a light moment for the lawyers and Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221.
The prosecution wanted to corroborate, through Asim’s testimony, the previous testimonies on the checkpoints that blocked the convoy of the 57 people massacred in the province on Nov. 23, 2009.
But there were not enough color markers to differentiate one town from another, so the usually stern judge went into her chambers and came back shortly afterward with a hot pink marker.
The exercise of coloring the map took a couple of minutes longer as the lawyers could not decide how, for purposes of reading into the court’s records, to call the shade of blue that was used on one section of the map.
One of the lawyers said it was “royal blue,” but assistant state prosecutor Amor Robles countered the hue was much darker. Someone suggested “midnight blue,” to which defense lawyer Andres Manuel riposted, “GSM Blue,” half in jest referring to a local brand of gin.
After some discussion, both panels settled for plain old “blue.”
The prosecution is set to present at least four more local officials from Maguindanao next week, including Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, whose wife Bai Genelyn was one of the 57 victims.