Sanctions vs Zaldy Ampatuan, TV reporter Anthony Taberna sought over interview
A private prosecutor in the Maguindanao massacre trial has asked the Quezon City court hearing the case to order ex-Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan, ABS-CBN reporter Anthony Taberna and two others to explain Ampatuan’s “unauthorized interview” that aired two weeks ago.
Private prosecutor Nena Santos sought the issuance last Friday of a show cause order against Ampatuan, Taberna and his news crew, and officials of ABS-CBN and its News and Current Affairs department.
The motion was filed before Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Regional Trial Court Branch 221, just hours after Ampatuan was discharged from a government hospital after a three-day medical checkup and returned to jail.
Santos is the lawyer of Maguindanao Gov. Toto Mangundadatu and the families of 25 victims of the Nov. 23, 2009, Maguindanao massacre which claimed a total of 57 lives (a 58th victim has not been found). The massacre is being pinned on members of the Ampatuan family.
The subject of Santos’ motion was a July 11 interview on TV Patrol conducted by Taberna right inside Ampatuan’s cell.
Ampatuan, his father, brothers and other relatives are being held at the Quezon City Jail Annex in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig. They are among 196 accused in the most heinous election-related crime in the country’s history.
In her motion, Santos said the interview was unauthorized since no permission was secured from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, which has custody over Ampatuan, or the QC court.
She said Ampatuan, Taberna and the others should be required to explain why they should not be charged with indirect contempt under the rules of court.
In the interview, Ampatuan, with his lawyer Howard Calleja seated beside him, expressed a willingness to turn state’s evidence against his father Andal Sr. and his brother Andal Jr.
The latter two are among the principal suspects in the massacre in which Mangundadatu’s wife and sisters were killed.
“Whoever is involved, my father or my brother, I will tell the truth to resolve this problem,” Ampatuan said in Filipino in the interview.
It was also reported during the interview that Ampatuan had signed an affidavit attesting to his father’s and brother’s alleged roles in the massacre of the 57 who included 32 media workers.
Santos said there was a violation of the BJMP’s Special Operating Procedure No. 2010-03, or Guidelines in the Conduct of Media Interview/Press Conference with Inmates.
“Under the SOP, the first requirement for an interview would be clearances from the BJMP chief, regional director and the court where the case is pending. The interview conducted by ABS-CBN through Taberna was unauthorized and unlawful,” the motion said.
Santos said the interview also violated due process and the sub judice (under judgment) rule.
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