CA won’t drop witness’ testimony against Ampatuans-A A +A
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
FORMER Maguindanao Governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his son Andal Jr. lost their bid to stop a Quezon City court from including the testimony of an ex-municipal vice mayor in the ongoing trial of the multiple murder cases.
In a ruling dated October 8, the Court of Appeals 14th Division junked the Ampatuans’ petition seeking to reverse the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court branch 221 that set aside their motions to expunge Rasul Sangki’s testimony.
Sangki told the court on January 13, 2010 that Andal Sr. was behind the killing of 58 civilians including 32 journalists who accompanied the wife of then Buluan vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu in filing his candidacy papers for governor on November 23, 2009.
Mangudadatu, now on his second term as governor, was Andal Jr.’s rival for the post in the May 2010 elections.
Sangki said he saw the killings.
“The soundness of the RTC’s orders in refusing to expunge the testimony of Sangki involves judgment, and not jurisdiction for, undoubtedly, the RTC has jurisdiction over the case,” the CA said through Associate Justice Victoria Isabel Paredes.
The Ampatuans claimed that Sangki should be disqualified as prosecution witness because he allegedly appeared to be among those most guilty of the crime.
Ninety-four suspects remain at large while only five Ampatuans have been arraigned nearly four years since the massacre happened.
The Aquino administration earlier promised that it will seek convictions, at least for the principal suspects, before the change of leadership in 2016. (Sunnex)