Andal Jr., pa ask court to reverse ruling on military witness
MANILA, Philippines—Andal Ampatuan Jr. and his father are asking a Quezon City court to reverse its previous order allowing the prosecution in the Maguindanao massacre trial to present an Army captain as one of its witnesses.
In a pleading, both Andal Jr. and Andal Sr. said the presentation of Philippine Army captain Julius Gundayao and other witnesses not listed in the pre-trial order is a violation of their constitutional rights.
The motion for reconsideration was filed through lawyer Philip Sigfrid Fortun before Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Regional Trial Court Branch 221.
In the two-page pleading, father and son argued that adding Gundayao to the list of witnesses approved by the court would defy the purpose of the pre-trial to limit the number of witnesses.
The Ampatuans are seeking for a reversal of the court’s February 15 order.
“It would be a violation of the right of the accused to know the evidence that will be presented against him if Captain Gundayao or any other witness is allowed to testify,” part of the motion read.
Gundayao’s name was mentioned in the testimony of Major Peter Edwin Narciso on November 23, 2011, exactly two years after the massacre of 57 people, mostly media workers in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao.
The Ampatuans are among 196 charged with the murders of several women, lawyers and journalists.
But in their appeal, father and son said due process dictates that every accused should be apprised of the nature and the cause of the charges and that supporting evidence be shown to him so that he can answer the charge with traversing and exculpatory evidence.
“Due process mandates a defendant should be sufficiently apprised of the matters he or she will be defending himself or herself. The presentation of Gundayao will be in violation of that inviolable entitlement,” the pleading pointed out.
The defense earlier asked the court to defer the presentation of Gundayao and other prosecution witnesses not included in the pre-trial order and for the court to rule on the presentation of such witnesses.