CA junks ex-ARMM gov's plea on Maguindanao massacre raps

November 8, 2011 11:14 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 8 – The Court of Appeals (CA) has dismissed the petition filed by suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan seeking the reinstatement of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) order that acquitted him of 57 counts of murder in connection with the Maguindanao massacre.

Ampatuan is one of the principal accused in the massacre of 57 civilians, including 15 women and 30 journalists in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009.

He said that the DOJ violated its own rules when it reinstated the 57 counts of murder against him.

Ampatuan said that the CA should reinstate the April 2010 resolution of the DOJ that cleared him of the murder charges.

The April 2010 DOJ ruling was based on the petition for review filed by Akmad Ampatuan and Zaldy Ampatuan seeking the reversal of the resolution of the panel of prosecutors that found probable cause to indict them for their alleged involvement in the massacre.

In the DOJ resolution, then DOJ Secretary Alberto Agra said that the defense of alibi of the two accused was stronger than the positive identification of witness Kenny Dalandag.

The April 2010 resolution drew outrage among relatives of the victims as well as with the public prosecutors calling Agra to revoke the resolution.

Then, on May 5, 2010, Agra reversed his April 2010 resolution on the basis of the affidavit of new witness Abdul Talusan that was submitted by private prosecution Atty. Nena Santos in her motion for reconsideration of the April resolution.

The CA has already dismissed similar petitions filed by former Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan, Sr. and Mamasapano, Maguindanao Mayor Akmad Ampatuan.

The CA ruled that there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the DOJ in reversing its earlier findings. (PNA) RMA/PTR/utb

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