A QUEZON City court has junked the appeal of Maguindanao massacre principal accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. to reconsider its earlier order denying his request to extend the presentation of three of his rebuttal witnesses in support of his bail petition.
In a five-page order, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the QC Regional Trial Court Branch 221 denied Ampatuan’s motion for reconsideration due to lack of merit.
Ampatuan through his legal counsel, Andres Manuel Jr. asked the court to extend the presentation of his rebuttal witnesses supposed to be last June 22 but Judge Reyes denied it due to lack of merit.
In his MR, the accused averred that the extension of time requested in presenting his last three witnesses is not for the purpose of delaying the case, neither it is based on his caprices but solely due the personal predicaments of their remaining witnesses, which he have not foreseen.
“It is unfair and unjust that accused and his present counsel are to suffer the brunt of the effect causes by the actions or inactions of his previous counsel,” as stated in Ampatuan’s MR.
Ampatuan wanted to present his rebuttal witnesses Engr. Lucio Sina, a telecom expert; Reynaldo de Guzman, former chief of the Philippine National Police Firearms and Identification Division and Insp. Armando Galigo Jr., which he claimed that their testimonies are very significant and relevant for his bail petition.
The prosecution, however, opposed Ampatuan’s MR saying that it should be denied since the testimonies of the proposed witnesses are immaterial and not proper in bail proceedings.
In her order, Judge Reyes explained that indeed, there is no law or rule which prohibits the accused from presenting more witnesses than the prosecution during the bail hearing.
“But the point is, the court had already allowed the accused to extend the presentation of “rebuttal” evidence for five times already -- three times while he was still being represented by his former counsel, Salvador Panelo and two times with his present counsel,” as stated in the order.
Judge Reyes further explained that contrary to Ampatuan’s allegations, he and his counsel are not being made to suffer the brunt of the effect caused by Atty. Panelo’s action and/or inactions.
“It cannot be said that the accused was deprived of due process given that the court at the outset, has exercised its utmost leniency in connection with the presentation of his rebuttal evidence,” as further stated in the order.
“With the exhaustive discussion already made by the court in the order sought to be considered, the court finds it no longer necessary to further expound on the rationale for the denial of the motion, there being no new issue raised by the accused,” Judge Reyes added in her order.
The court, on the other hand, ordered the accused to file his formal offer of evidence within 15 days upon receipt of the order. With Patricia