The bid of former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. to reopen the Maguindanao massacre case has been turned down by Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes.
In her order, the magistrate pointed out Ampatuan’s basis for the reopening of the case has been the recantation of the testimony of prosecution witness Sukarno Badal.
“When presented in Court however, the latter (Badal) belied accused-movant’s claims,” the magistrate recounted.
“With the denial made by the prosecution witness Sukarno Badal of his intention to recant his previous testimony given on several dates, it is clear that the ground relied upon by the accused-movant for the resopening of trialo has no leg to stand on. Thus, the Motion must perforce fail,” ruled Reyes.
The magistrate noted that an accused may seek a reopening of the case once “a case has been submitted for decision even if no promulgation of judgment has been made or when judgment has been rendered but before it becomes final.”
The case is already set for promulgation following the conclusion of the trial.
The case concerns the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre in Ampatuan, Maguindanao where were 58 persons killed including 32 members of the media.
Those killed were part of the convoy of then Buluan town vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu which was on its way for the filing of a certificate of candidacy for the gubernatorial race of Maguindanao.
Among the 197 suspects, the principal accused include late Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and his two sons including former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor Zaldy Ampatuan .