Ampatuan asks CA to nullify Agra's second ruling

June 28, 2010 10:21 pm 

By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

MANILA, June 28 – Suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan on Monday filed a petition before the Court of Appeals (CA) seeking to nullify the second resolution of Acting Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Alberto Agra that gave the go-signal to prosecute him for 57 counts of murder in connection with the Maguindanao massacre.

In his 64-page petition for certiorari, Ampatuan, through his legal counsel Atty. Redemberto Villanueva, said that Agra committed a blatant error and grave abuse of discretion in hastily reversing his April resolution excluding Zaldy Ampatuan from the 57 counts of murder charges.

Villanueva said that Ampatuan's constitutional right to due process as well as his procedural right had been violated when they were not given time to properly refute within reasonable period the affidavit of new alleged witness Abdul Talusan.

"The right way is not always the popular and easy way," Villanueva said, noting the stress Agra has felt when he ordered Zaldy be dropped off the case on April 16, 2010.

The prosecution's motion for reconsideration (MR) of Agra's April 16, 2010 resolution was filed on April 30, 2010.

He said that they were not given the opportunity to comment on the MR, which was a violation of his client's rights.

Ampatuan also asked the CA to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the May 5, 2010 resolution issued by Agra.

On May 5, 2010 Agra reversed his earlier resolution and ruled that Zaldy Ampatuan and Mamasapano, Maguindanao Mayor Datu Akmad Ampatuan, Sr. could be prosecuted for 57 counts of murder in connection with the Maguindanao massacre on Nov. 23, 2009.

"Based on testimonies of additional witnesses as well as arguments of the lawyers (of relatives of the victims) who filed their respective pleadings, I am now convinced that there is probable cause in so far as Zaldy Ampatuan and Akmad Ampatuan to pursue the case of (57 counts of) murder," Agra said.

Agra was referring to the testimonies of a certain Abdul and Takpan Dilon who identified the participation of the two Ampatuans.

Dilon was one of the members of the Civilian Volunteers Organization (CVO) who was seen at the massacre site carrying an M-16 rifle.

The witnesses also confirmed that Zaldy Ampatuan arrived at Shariff Aguak to attend a meeting in the house of Datu Andal Ampatuan, Sr. at around 11 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2009, which adjourned at around 1 a.m. on Nov. 23, 2009, and then Zaldy Ampatuan left Shariff Aguak. (PNA)

RMA/PTR

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