The prosecution panel in the “Maguindanao Massacre’’ case on Tuesday has filed an omnibus motion before a Quezon City court seeking the release and transfer of an accused to the witness protection program (WPP).
In a six-page motion, panel head Archimedes Manabat also asked the court to issue an order for the resumption of the trial for the recall of Esmael Canapia as an ordinary witness. Earlier, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221granted the motion to discharge filed by Canapia.
Canapia is one of the 197 initially tagged in the massacre case.
In an order dated February 21, 2014, the panel said the court granted Canapia’s motion to discharge.
“After an evaluation of the evidence adduced, the Court finds the motion to discharge Esmael Canapia impressed with merit,” Solis-Reyes’ order read.
Canapia has 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.
The panel has sought for his discharge, claiming that Canapia has identified some of his co-accused who were the perpetrators of the crime and appeared to be not the “most-guilty’’ in the case.
In granting the discharge, Solis-Reyes said Canapia was able to identify three groups of suspects as supposedly those who participated in the massacre—those who were also identified by other witnesses; those who were identified by him and suspect Rex Ariel Diongon, who also wants to be turned into a state witness; and those whom he uniquely identified.
The suspects who he uniquely identified were Armando Ambalgan a.k.a. Omar Bulatukan; Maot Dumla a.k.a. Not Abdul; Ibrahim Kamal Tatak a.k.a. Thong Guiamano; and Rakim Kenog a.k.a. Rakim Amil.
“In this last set of accused, the court is of the view that the testimony of Canapia becomes absolutely necessary for the state to utilize,” said Solis-Reyes.