Andal Ampatuan Jr., the principal accused in the Maguindanao Massacre case, has lost another legal counsel, who withdrew from representing him in an ongoing trial of the 58 counts of murder filed against him before a Quezon City court.
Manuel Andres Jr. pulled out from the defense before the sala of Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, which noted his withdrawal of appearance of as a lead counsel for Ampatuan Jr.
Ampatuan Jr. used to have lawyer Sigfried Phillip Fortun as his first lead counsel but Fortun withdrew during presentation of the prosecution’s evidence on a bail petition of the accused.
Fortun, however, did not say why he was backing out from the case.
Lawyer Salvador Panelo succeeded Fortun but later also withdrew from the case.
Manuel took over as the lead counsel and continued the presentation of evidence by the defense.
A week before Sigfried withdrew, the law firm of his younger brother, Raymund, had sought appearance as a collaborating counsel of Manuel.
The court was requested to furnish the younger Fortun with decisions, orders, resolutions and other pertinent records regarding the case.
In view of the request, Judge Reyes has directed Raymund’s law firm to inform the court within 48 hours if it will act as lead counsel for the accused.