Ampatuan Jr. pleads 'not guilty'-A A +A
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
MANILA -- (Updated 1:03 p.m.) Maguindanao massacre primary suspect Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. pleaded “not guilty” Tuesday at the first day of his multiple murder trial in Camp Crame.
Ampatuan Jr. was wearing a bulletproof vest and was handcuffed when he was taken from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) headquarters to the trial venue in Camp Crame.
Around 400 cops were deployed to strictly ensure the safety of Ampatuan Jr. and the security of the entire area.
No firearms, cell phones, and other recording devices were allowed inside Camp Crame's Police Non-Commissioned Officers Clubhouse, where the trial was held. Live television and radio coverage was not allowed and only one representative from each media organization was allowed to cover the trial.
In the hearing, the prosecution presented only NBI spokesman Ric Diaz as witness. Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes, however, rebuffed the videos and photos presented by Diaz as evidence because the latter did not obtain them himself.
Despite earlier reports on witnesses accusing Ampatuan Jr. as responsible for the death of at least 57 people in Maguindanao last November 23, the primary suspect pleaded himself “not guilty” to the multiple counts of murder filed against him.
The hearing for bail petition has also been moved to the next hearing.
After the session, Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez show sketches of the hearing to the media and commended members of the Philippine National Police for successfully securing the area.
"Napakaliit niya tao pero nakagawa siya ng napakalaking krimen! Napapaiyak talaga dahil nag-flashback ang mga nagyari noon. Sana naman makuha na talaga natin ang hustisya...," Myrna Reblado, wife of one of the massacre victims, said in a television interview.
The first hearing closed at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and will resume on January 13 and 20, when the prosecution is expected to present 12 more witnesses. (Sunnex)