Prosecutors end case vs Andal Ampatuan Jr.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

GOVERNMENT prosecutors have rested their case against Andal Ampatuan Jr. and 27 individuals linked to the gruesome massacre of 58 people in Maguindanao in November 2009, allowing the defense to argue for their innocence in the coming days.

Aside from Ampatuan, the prosecutors told the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 221 that they will no longer present evidence in the multiple murder cases filed against Police Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay, Manny and Misuari Ampatuan, Moktar Daud, Zakaria Akil and Mohamad Balading, among others.

As to the remaining 76 accused, the government said it will only wrap up until four pending issues on the testimony of prosecution witnesses are decided by the Court of Appeals (CA) and the trial court.

These witnesses include Sukarno Badal, Mohamad Sangki and PO1 Rainier Ebus, whose testimonies were only conditionally admitted by the court.

"With the primary objective of moving these cases forward, the parties agreed to the 'conditional admission/presentation of witnesses' subject to the outcome of the petitions filed or incidents pending before the trial court and appellate courts," stated the manifestation dated February 28.

Ampatuan denied masterminding the killings, which stemmed from his 2010 gubernatorial run against then Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu.

Majority of the victims were journalists, who were supposed to cover Mangudadatu's filing of certificate of candidacy on November 23, 2009. He was represented by his wife, who was also killed.

The trial is now on its fourth year amid public criticism for its slow pace. (Sunnex)

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