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Ampatuans buck bid of backhoe operator

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02:15 AM January 22nd, 2013

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January 22nd, 2013 02:15 AM

The primary suspects in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre have asked a Quezon City court to reject the bid of alleged gravedigger and backhoe operator Bong Andal to turn state’s evidence and be removed from the list of 195 accused in the case.

In a rejoinder, Andal Ampatuan Sr., Andal Ampatuan Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan asked Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to deny Andal’s petition for discharge and exclusion from the case, saying that he was disqualified under the Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act.

Andal was the backhoe operator and employee of the Maguindanao provincial government believed to have dug the mass grave to bury the 58 victims, including 32 media men, of the Nov. 23, 2009, massacre.

Andal was arrested on Nov. 24 last year in Midsayap, North Cotabato.

According to the Ampatuans’ rejoinder, “There (was) no absolute necessity for Andal’s testimony,” since the prosecution had presented at least four alleged eyewitnesses who had testified on the supposed planning and cover-up of the massacre. Jeannette Andrade

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