Ampatuan blocks presentation of massacre witness-A A +A
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
FORMER Datu Unsay town mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. has asked a Quezon City court handling the 2009 Maguindanao massacre case to stop the prosecution from presenting as witness an Army officer.
In his motion, Ampatuan asked Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 221 Presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes to reverse her February 15 order allowing Captain Julius Gundayao to appear as one of the prosecution's witnesses in the multiple murder charges.
Ampatuan, principal suspect in the 2009 mass murders, said Gundayao should not be allowed to testify since he was never included in the list of witnesses submitted by the prosecution in the pre-trial order.
"The trial judge shall issue a pre-trial order within 10 days after termination of the pre-trial conference, the fact stipulated the admissions made to be presented shall bind the parties, limit the trial to matters not disposed of and control the course of the action during trial," the motion said.
"Finally, in the hierarchy of rights, the bill of right takes precedence over the right of the State to prosecute and when weighed against each other, the scale of justice tilts in favor of the former," it added.
Earlier, Ampatuan's father, Andal Sr., also objected to the prosecution's bid to present Gundayao. His objection was later adopted by the other defense lawyers.
Gundayao was mentioned in the testimony of Army Major Peter Edwin Narciso on November 23, 2011, two years after the Maguindanao massacre where 57 people, including 31 media workers, were brutally killed by gunmen allegedly upon the orders of the Ampatuans.
The body of the 58th victim, journalist Reynaldo Momay has yet to be recovered by the authorities. (AH/Sunnex)