Prosecutors in Maguindanao massacre want cop, civilian to testifyBy Julie M. Aurelio
The prosecutors in the Maguindanao massacre trial have asked the court to designate as state witnesses a policeman and a civilian who are to testify on the alleged participation of police officers and militiamen in the carnage that came to be known as the worst case of election-related violence in the country’s recent history.
In separate pleadings, the prosecution panel led by Deputy Regional State Prosecutor Peter Medalle said there was “an absolute necessity” for the testimonies of Insp. Rex Ariel Diongon and Esmael Kanapia who are among the 195 accused in the massacre that took place in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao, on Nov. 23, 2009.
Diongon is to identify police officers and civilians allegedly involved in the massacre, while Kanapia will testify on the involvement of militia members.
Two separate motions to discharge them as accused were filed last Friday.
The prosecution noted that the two did not appear to be the most guilty and there has been no direct evidence against them except for their testimonies.
In Diongon’s case, the prosecution said his testimony was necessary because the policemen he would name had not yet been identified in court as among participants of the massacre.
The prosecution had earlier asked trial Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to remove Diongon from the list of accused but this was denied by the court.
The lawyers of the policemen from the 1507th and 1508th Maguindanao Provincial Mobile Group have been asking the prosecution to drop its objection to their clients’ petition for bail, pointing out the prosecution had not presented any evidence against their clients.
Members of the Ampatuan clan that reigned over Maguindanao led by Andal Ampatuan Sr. are the accused masterminds of the massacre that took 57 lives including those of 31 journalists.