CA junks rebellion case filed by DOJ against Ampatuans
The Court of Appeals has dismissed the rebellion case filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against members of the Ampatuan clan in connection with the massacre of 57 people in Maguindanao in 2009.
The appeals court, in a ruling released Monday, upheld the decision of a Quezon City trial court to junk the case. By filing a case without enough evidence to back up the charge of rebellion, “the prosecutors may have indeed abused the criminal justice system,” the appellate court said.
Reacting to the decision, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda was quick to point out that the “weak” case was filed during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who counted the Ampatuans as political allies.
“The Ampatuans were allied with Arroyo. Isn’t that obvious? How can you even claim a rebellion when the Ampatuans were allied with Arroyo at the time,” Lacierda said in a press briefing.
Lacierda assured the public the Aquino administration had a “strong case” for multiple murder against the Ampatuans.
“What’s more important is the murder charge—the Maguindanao massacre. That’s where we are focused,” he said, adding that the Ampatuans could not use the dismissal of the rebellion charge as a defense in the murder case.
In a separate press briefing Monday, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said, “We really did not expect (that rebellion case) to prosper.”
In a 63-page resolution, the appellate court dismissed the petition for review filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for lack of probable cause.
“There exists no probable cause to indict and hold under detention the accused for rebellion,” the appeals court said in its decision dated Dec. 15, 2011.
“(The OSG) claims the rebellion continued from Nov. 24, 2009 to February 2010, yet in contrast, martial law in Maguindanao was lifted on Dec. 12, 2009, signifying that the rebellion had by then been crushed,” the court said.
Aside from Andal Sr., absolved by the appellate court were his son Zaldy Ampatuan, Anwar Ampatuan, Sajid Islam Ampatuan and Akmad Tato Ampatuan. With a report from Tetch Torres, INQUIRER.net
Originally posted: 11:21 am | Monday, January 2nd, 2012
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