• Prosecutors want massacre suspects bail recalled

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    STATE prosecutors handling the Maguindanao Massacre case on Tuesday asked Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 to reconsider her decision granting bail to 17 accused police officers.

    In a 15-page motion for reconsideration, panel head and Prosecutor Archimedes Manabat said the judge erred when she ruled that pieces of evidence against the police officers were insufficient and asked the court to set aside its October 13, 2014 omnibus order allowing the accused temporary liberty.

    The omnibus order granted the bail petitions of the accused police officers from 158th Provincial Mobile Group (PMG) of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM.)

    The prosecutors asked the court to look at the totality of the evidence presented against the accused “since it appears that it overlooked crucial testimonies of substance which, when carefully evaluated and intelligently assessed, would bring about a different view.”

    Reyes granted the bail petitions of the accused, saying there is no strong evidence to prove their guilt and ordered them to post a P200,000 bail for each of the 58 counts or a total of P11.6 million each.

    Two weeks after granting the bail of the 17 accused, she also allowed 25 other accused police officers to post the same amount of bail.

    “Assuming arguendo that conspiracy was unpersuasively shown, the evidence against the accused, nonetheless, is strong to hold them liable as principals by indispensable cooperation,” the prosecutors said.

    “It is well to stress that there is no issue as to accused’s presence at the checkpoint in Sitio Malating on November 23, 2009. Notably, witnesses’ testimonies uniformly established that the said checkpoint started operating even before November 19, 2009 until November 23, 2009” they added.

    “Indubitably, it is understood that they were the same personalities adverted to every time prosecution witnesses refer to police at the checkpoint, without need of specifying their individual names,” the prosecutors said.

    They said the accused policemen did not simply confine themselves to manning the checkpoint but did something more that indicated indispensable cooperation if not conspiracy with the Ampatuans to commit the crime.

    A number of members of the politically influential Ampatuan family are some of the principal suspects in the mass killing.

    “The presence of conspiracy was definitely established by the policemen’s synchronized acts in carrying out the common objective of the Ampatuans in blocking, inflicting physical harm and eventually killing the 58 victims,” the prosecutors stressed.

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