A Quezon City court on Monday allowed the transfer of one of the accused in the Maguindanao massacre to the Witness Protection Program (WPP).
In a two-page order, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 directed the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City to immediately release and transfer Esmael Canapia to the WPP.
Solis-Reyes issued the order granting the omnibus motion filed by the prosecution panel, which sought for the release and transfer of Canapia to the WPP.
The prosecution panel led by Archimedes Manabat filed the motion after Reyes allowed Canapia to be discharged as state witness.
In the same order, the court also granted the pleadings of the prosecution to recall Canapia as an ordinary witness during the resumption of the trial on March 27.
“In order to give the public prosecutors a chance to recall said witness to testify against all accused who were arraigned after August 23, 2012, let the hearing be set on March 27, “ the order stated.
Canapia, who is one of the 197 accused initially tagged in the November 23, 2009 massacre, testified on August 23 and 29, 2012; October 4, 2012; and January 24, 2013. Manabat said that although the court granted Canapia’s discharge, his release to the WPP security and benefit program as a covered witness was not directed.
“In view of the discharge of Canapia to be utilized as a state witness and pursuant to Section 10 of Republic Act 6981, the court deems it proper to grant the relied being prayed for,” Reyes said in her order.