Lawyer questions prison interview: That’s illegal | Inquirer News

Lawyer questions prison interview: That’s illegal

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 02:54 AM July 21, 2011

A private prosecutor on Wednesday questioned the interview granted by Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the principals accused in the Maguindanao massacre case, to select journalists in his detention cell in Bicutan, Taguig City.

Nena Santos, legal counsel of Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, said the private prosecution will formally request Quezon City Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to issue a “show cause” order on Ampatuan, his lawyer Howard Calleja, and a number of journalists.

Ampatuan was interviewed separately in his prison cell by TV crews of ABS-CBN, GMA 7 and Arab news agency Al Jazeera. The interviews were aired on July 11 but conducted two weeks earlier.


Policy violation


Santos said Ampatuan’s camp appeared to have violated the policy of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology banning reporters from interviewing a prisoner without a court order.

“We will be filing a motion to show cause why there was an interview inside the jail and why we were not informed about it,” she said on the sidelines of the prosecution panel’s weekly meeting on Wednesday at the Department of Justice.

Santos said Ampatuan et al. might have also violated the sub judice rule in discussing certain issues concerning the multiple-murder trial.

She said jail officials who had allowed the interview without seeking a court order could be liable for contempt of court.

During the interviews, Ampatuan named his father and younger brother as the masterminds of the Nov. 23, 2009, massacre that left 57 people, among them 32 media workers, dead. (The remains of a 58th victim have yet to be found.)

Ampatuan maintained his innocence of the crime and expressed willingness to testify against his kin.


Motion ignored

Santos also said the prosecution panel had filed a motion blocking Ampatuan’s request to seek medical treatment outside the detention facility of Camp Bagong Diwa.

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However, she said, Judge Reyes ignored the petition and granted Ampatuan’s petition.

TAGS: Quezon City

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