• New arraignment set for Maguindanao massacre suspects

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    THE arraignment of ten accused in connection with the alleged death of the 58th victim in the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre was set on October 23.

    Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes said those scheduled for arraignment include accused Moktar Daud, Mohades Ampatuan, Macton Bilungan, Misuari Ampatuan, Tato Sampogao, Taya Bangkulat, Salik Bangkulat, Ibrahim Tatak, Norman Tatak and Maot Dumla

    The order was issued after their lawyer Andres Manuel manifested that he was willing to have his clients arraigned for the alleged death of photojournalist Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay.

    “Appearing that there is no legal impediment to their arraignment, let the same be set on October 23, 2013 at 9:00 o’clock in the morning, to be conducted at Quezon City Jail-Annex, Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City,” Solis-Reyes said.

    Court records showed that the suspects have already pleaded not guilty for the initial 57 counts of murder.

    In an order issued last May, Solis-Reyes held in abeyance the arraignment of more than a dozen suspects for the 58th murder case pending the resolution of their respective motions filed before the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the court.

    Last month, suspect Superintendent Abusama Maguid pleaded not guilty after his lawyer manifested that they will no longer pursue his motion for reconsideration filed before the DOJ.

    The arraignments for the 58th murder case were held separately from the initial 57 counts as the case was only filed in court last year.

    In Sept. 2012, the DOJ found probable cause to file another set of murder charges against the suspects charged for the massacre.

    The remains of Momay a photojournalist for the Midland Review, a local newspaper were never found but a team led by a forensic expert from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) recovered parts of the photojournalist’s supposed dentures.

    In her complaint, Momay’s daughter Reynafe claimed that her father had called a colleague before the incident and said that he was in the van together with other media colleagues.

    The DOJ in its resolution said that even “though Momay’s body was not found at the killing fields located at Barangay Salman, Ampatuan, Maguindanao, there is sufficient evidence that he was indeed part of the ill-fated convoy.”

    Jing Villamente

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