Not Guilty?! Oh Come On!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


Andal Ampatuan Jr. just entered a 'not guilty plea' for the 41 counts of murder in the Maguindanao massacre case.
Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes started around 8:30 AM in the Police Non-Commissioned Officers' Clubhouse inside Camp Crame that housed the temporary courthouse.

He sported jeans and a pink tshirt with corresponding handcuffs that was really nice to see with Ampatuan while he was being escorted by National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents. There was a sudden photo-op for members of media before they were escorted out. I watched this all in ANC. Asst. Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon headed the team for the government and public prosecutor while well known paid Atty. Sigfrid Fortun stood for Ampatuan’s defense.

First on the table was to have the Department of Justice (DOJ) explain why Ampatuan needed to appear and be on the preliminary investigation where a couple of photographers and newsmen hit him on his face with cameras.
Judge Solis-Reyes gave DOJ 3 days to explain. Aside from this, there will be a hearing for the petition for bail of Ampatuan. Fortun said he will make a preliminary conference so they can agree on the evidence that will be presented in the hopes of a speedy case. Fadullon however resisted and said that the 'petition for bail' was the only thing that was discussed in that particular hearing. Judge Solis-Reyes instructed the prosecution to limit the number of witnesses since there are around 12 for the bail hearing. Around 9:30AM Atty. Ric Diaz of the NBI was adjudged witness that will be cross-examined by Fortun because he said that his testimony would only be irrelevant. Diaz heads the Anti-Terrorism Division of the NBI and he was the first one to get there on the day of the massacre.
University of the Philippines (UP)Professor Atty. Harry Roque also added that Ampatuan should be in the Quezon City Jail, as it was also noted by Judge Solis-Reyes. The next hearing will be on January 13 at 8:30AM and I just hope he goes straight to Muntinlupa instead.


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