• Court dumps Ampatuan contempt motion vs. de Lima

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    A Quezon City court threw out for lack of merit the motion of Maguindanao massacre alleged mastermind former Mayor Datu Unsay Ampatuan Jr. to cite in contempt Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and eight others.

    In a three-page order, Assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 junked the motion for reconsideration filed by Ampatuan.

    Ampatuan has sought for the reversal of the court-issued May 28, 2010 omnibus order, which denied his motion to cite in contempt the said personalities.

    Besides de Lima, the others which Ampatuan wanted to be cited for contempt were Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon, former Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, former Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuño, lawyer Harry Roque, lawyer Nena Santos, lawyer Pete Principe, then vice mayor now Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu of Maguindanao and Vice Mayor Rasul Sangki.

    The Ampatuan motion claimed that the statements made by the respondents before the media after the bail hearings on January 5, 13, 20 and 27, 2010 violated the sub judice rule.

    Ampatuan further filed second, third and fourth motions for show cause order asking the court to order the respondents to explain why they should not be cited for contempt.

    In the May 28, 2010 Omnibus Order issued by Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes, the court ruled that the statements made by the respondents in said occasions did not violate the sub judice rule and they cannot be cited for contempt of court.

    In her first order as assisting judge for the Maguindanao massacre case, Agbada explained that the court has already acted on the three other motions of the accused when it issued orders requiring the respondents to show cause as prayed by the accused.

    Agbada added the second, third and fourth motions for show cause order were already granted by the court—the respondents were required to show why they should not be cited for contempt.

    The respondents had filed their respective compliance to the court’s order.

    Agbada further explained that the court has ordered the persons concerned to refrain from making unnecessary statements before the media that will delve into the merits of the case.

    However, the accused still filed the motion for reconsideration seeking the reversal of the court’s earlier junking of his motion.

    ”Suffice it to say that except for indirect contempt proceedings initiated motu propio by order of or formal charge by the offended court, all charges for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with formal compliance with the requirements under Section 4 Rule 71 of the Rules of Court and shall be disposed of in accordance thefeof, ” stated Agbada’s order.

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