Two young Ampatuan clan members who allegedly masterminded the “Maguindanao Massacre’’ will be arraigned today for the 58 counts of murder filed against them in connection with the November 2009 bloodbath.
Anwar “Ipi” Ampatuan Jr. and Anwar Sajid “Ulo” Ampatuan, grandsons of former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. of Maguindanao are to be arraigned during today’s continuing hearing of the multiple murder case at a makeshift court inside Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City.
Their arraignment was set after Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 issued a two-page order last week denying their appeal on an order junking their respective motions to dismiss the case against them.
Solis-Reyes in her order found the motion filed by the Ampatuans as a mere rehash of earlier arguments that were already dismissed by the court.
In their motion for reconsideration, the suspects through their lawyer Emmanuel Brotarlo urged the court to reverse Solis-Reyes’s earlier ruling and dismiss the case against them as there was no evidence showing their involvement in the massacre.
“What were the evidences presented by the Panel of Investigating Prosecutors which were personally examined by the Honorable Court before it concluded that there exists a probable cause against [the suspects]for the crimes charged?” asked Brotarlo in the motion.
“The only evidence, if at all, against both accused, during the alleged conduct of preliminary investigation of the subject cases, is their surname which is ‘Ampatuan,’” he added.
Ipi and Ulo Ampatuans claimed that they were in Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto fight days before the November 23, 2009 massacre adding that they were attending a session of the Sangguniang Bayan in Shariff Aguak at the time of the incident.
Solis-Reyes dismissed the Ampatuans’ respective pleas to junk the case against them.
In her earlier order, Solis-Reyes said the court has always been consistent on its position on the matter, saying it has already ruled the existence of probable cause when it issued the arrest warrants against the suspects.
“Since no other pleadings were filed by either of the accused-movants in order to refute the finding of probable cause not only by the panel of investigating prosecutors as well as this court, it is of the view that no cogent reason exists to justify the reversal of such finding,” the order said.
She added that the issues raised by the two accused are more fitting to be considered and weighed in a full-blown trial.
Their arraignment was postponed on August 7 because of the pending motion for reconsideration.
In her latest ruling, the judge said that there is nothing under the rules “which would require that the judicial finding of probable cause be made in a specific form.”
“Neither it is required that the pieces of evidence which were made the bases for the indictment of an accused be specifically mentioned by the court in its order,” she added.