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Kin of victims bewail slow Maguindanao massacre trial

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kin of victims bewail slow Maguindanao massacre trial


“Ordinary people like me do not understand why our judicial system is like this. Can it be reformed? It is difficult to accept it would take 20 years or 200 years for the case to be resolved.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com
MANILA — Grace Morales, 35, lost a husband and a sister in a massacre that took place on November 23, 2009 and claimed the lives of 58 individuals, 32 of whom are journalists.

Her husband Rosell of News Focus left her with three children, now aged 13, eleven and eight. Her sister Marites Cablitas left behind three children. “At that time, I did not know what to do. Two of my loved ones were killed. Who should I console first, my mother-in-law, my own children or my nieces and my nephew,” Morales told the fellows of the Graciano Lopez Jaena Workshop at the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

Morales, along with the other families of slain journalists, filed cases against the suspects, members of the powerful and influential Ampatuan clan who have been reigning in Maguindanao province. Barely a month before the massacre marks its second year, the trial has still been grinding slowly.

Almost two years after the Ampatuan massacre, the trial is locked up in bail proceedings, with 48 suspects filing petitions for bail, said lawyer Prima Quinsayas of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ). Of the 196 suspects in the carnage of 58 individuals, including 32 journalists, only two have been arraigned so far.

“Even under Aquino’s administration, we are not moving,” Quinsayas said. “So much for Aquino’s promises…”

Recently, the court granted the motion filed by lawyers of Datu Unsay and Maguindanao mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. to present rebuttal evidence to the opposition filed by the prosecution against Unsay’s petition for bail.

“This is unusual. The general rule is that it is only the prosecution that presents evidence during bail proceedings because it has to prove the strong probability of guilt to oppose the petition,” Quinsayas said. The defense, said Quinsayas, cited only one Supreme Court decision to justify its petition. Quinsayas argued that the particular jurisprudence being cited by the defense is not applicable to the circumstances of the Ampatuan case.

In the same forum, Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III described the recent developments in the case as “disturbing.” He said that under the rules of court, petitions for bail should be summary and the defense can file petitions for bail if the evidence of guilt is weak.

“We are confident that it will be denied. The evidence against Andal is very strong. In a surprising turn of events, the court granted the right [of the accused] to submit rebuttal evidence,” Baraan said. “That will delay the resolution of the case.”

“Can you imagine the court allowing all the 40 plus [suspects] to present rebuttal evidence?” Quinsayas said. “Unfortunately, we have to work with the rules of court. The Supreme Court is not very open to the idea of revising the rules of court,” Quinsayas said.

Editha Tiamzon, widow of UNTV driver Daniel Tiamzon, one of the victims of the Ampatuan massacre, said, “We find the trial very slow. Even if hearings are held twice a week, it is as though nothing is happening. We are not satisfied. Two years has passed and still, we see no light.”.... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/10/26/kin-of-victims-bewail-slow-maguindanao-massacre-trial/

1 comment

Jesusa Bernardo said...

yang evil "civil society," yang mga nagpunta sa edsa 2 ang indirectly may sala diyan sa ampatuan massacre na iyan (http://jesusabernardo.newsvine.com/_news/2009/11/30/3565203-the-ampatuan-massacre-the-civil-society-connection)

"In the same forum, Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III described the recent developments in the case as “disturbing.” He said that under the rules of court, petitions for bail should be summary and the defense can file petitions for bail if the evidence of guilt is weak.

"“We are confident that it will be denied. The evidence against Andal is very strong. In a surprising turn of events, the court granted the right [of the accused] to submit rebuttal evidence,” Baraan said. “That will delay the resolution of the case.”"

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