THE Court of Appeals (CA) stood pat on its ruling allowing the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to admit as evidence the testimony of one of the prosecution witness in the Maguindanao Massacre case.
In a three-page resolution of the CA Special Second Division, Associate Justice Manuel Barrios, ponente of the case, junked the motion for reconsideration filed by Andal Ampatuan Jr.
The Court opined that the issues raised by Andal have been ruled upon already in their June 6, 2013 decision.
“In this instance, we have adequately explained in our decision that public respondent did not commit a grave abuse of discretion in admitting the subject testimony. Without presenting any new or substantial matter, there is no sufficient justification to reverse, modify or amend the same,” the resolution reads.
The Court dismissed for lack of merit the Petition for Certiorari filed by Andal Jr. one of the accused in the killing of 58 people, including 30 journalists, in Maguindanao on November 23, 2009.
The appellate court is convinced that the testimony of Police Officer (PO) 1 Rainer Ebus is “admissible as evidence for being competent and relevant.”
The testimony which is the subject of Andal Jr’s petition refers to the information that Ebus revealed in open court where he narrated the acts allegedly done by the petitioner after the day of the massacre.
Ebus narrated that on November 25, 2009, he allegedly saw Andal Jr. in a meeting held in the mansion of former Gov. Datu Andal Ampatuan Sr. of Maguindanao.
Then after some 30 minutes, the group of Andal Jr. left the mansion and headed towards Sharif Aguak.
“Admissibility of evidence should not be confused with weight of evidence. The former is determined by its relevance and competence, while the latter depends on judicial evaluation; hence, an evidence may be admissible without having any probative value,” it was pointed out.
According to Ebus, he was with Andal Jr. inside the vehicle going to Sharif Aguak where he allegedly heard the petitioner said that they will see him on television the following day.
“At another instance, PO1 Ebus was asked about the baby Armalite that petitioner carried at the time he shot the victims. To this, PO1 Ebus explained that petitioner instructed a particular PO1 Engrid, supposedly petitioner’s close-in security, to hide all firearms not issued by the Philippine National Police. The instruction was given on 26 November 2009,” the court ruled.
Ebus is also allegedly part of the group that hid the assault rifles with a certain Nasser Adam in Datu Unsay, Maguindano.
Andal Jr., in his petition, accused of Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 “clear abuse of discretion and/or excess of the exercise” of her jurisdiction in admitting the evidence.
The petitioner objected to the presentation of PO1 Ebus, “arguing that the allegation of conspiracy in the Amended Informations cannot be deemed to encompass post facto acts or acts done after the occurrence of the crime, such as cover up and harassment.”
He also argued that the decision of the lower court to allow Justice department panel to present evidence violates his constitutional right to be informed of the nature of the allegation against him.
It is because the incidents that allegedly occurred after the massacre were never included in the 57 informations filed before the trial court against him and thus, are irrelevant to the case.
However, the Court of Appeals declared that Andal Jr. failed to prove that public respondent, Judge Solis-Reyes, had gravely abused her discretion in admitting the testimony of Ebus
Associate Justices Normandie Pizarro and Apolinario Bruselas Jr. concurred with the decision.