CA allows 4 witnesses in massacre trial; Ampatuan Jr.’s dismissal bid junked

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Court of Appeals building. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Court of Appeals dismissed the bid of Andal Ampatuan Jr. to block the testimonies of four witnesses in connection with the Maguindanao massacre case.

In a 9-page decision, the appeals court 5th Division through Associate Justice Ricardo Rosario allowed Army Officer Captain Julius Gundayan, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) forensic experts Sherwin Uy and a certain R. Paruli and lawyer Gemma Oquendo, sister of one of the victims.

The appeals court said a Judge, on this case Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, has the discretion to allow the inclusion of evidence not identified or marked during pre-trial.

“The judge’s discretion hinges on a good cause or good reason,” the appeals court said.

Ampatuan took the case to the appeals court after the Quezon City Trial Court turned down his bid to block the testimonies of the four witnesses because they are not included in the witnesses listed in a pre-trial order.

Citing an administrative order from the Supreme Court, he said presentation of witnesses not included in a pre-trial order prepared by the judge is not allowed.

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