MANILA — One of the principals accused in the Maguindanao massacre case has been returned to his cell at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City Wednesday, a day ahead of the promulgation of the decision in the multiple murder charges.
A police convoy accompanied prison guards in transporting former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan along the southbound side of the Skyway from the Makati hospital where he was recovering from a stroke.
The move is in compliance with the order of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) released on Tuesday that he be sent back behind bars.
“Unless his attending physicians, Dr. Katerina Tanya Perez-Gosiengfiao (and) Dr. Paul Kristian Manog Jaca, cardiologist, and neurologist will execute a certification under oath that his return to the detention facility will endanger his life, reason dictates that the relief prayed for in the motion filed by the prosecution (for the return to jail) must be granted,” Quezon City RTC Branch 221 Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes said in her order.
Ampatuan earlier asked that he be allowed to extend his confinement until his condition has stabilized and claims that he is not a flight risk considering that this is not the first time that he had requested to be brought out of his detention facility.
The defense, in a comment submitted to the RTC, also said a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) was conducted and revealed that he suffered a stroke.
The promulgation of the decision on the Maguindanao massacre case will be held in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City on Thursday.
In a notice sent to newsmen, Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and Assistant Court Administrator Brian Keith F. Hosaka assured the public that the high court will immediately upload the decision of the trial court in the case in the Supreme Court (SC) website as soon as possible.
Only two video cameras will be allowed to take footage of the proceedings to be provided and manned by the personnel of the state-run People’s Television Network (PTV) upon the request of the high court.
The first camera of PTV shall be directed at the judge and whoever will read the decision, on a wide-angle shot, while the second camera of PTV shall be directed at the lawyers, counsels and the parties, also on a wide-angle shot.
In no case will the shot pan the surroundings or zoom in on any individuals inside the courtroom. The video footage shall be shared in real-time with other broadcast networks.
“No expert commentaries shall be allowed during the live coverage of the promulgation,” the guidelines said of the broadcast networks adding that PTV “shall air the promulgation without any interruption”.
In November, the SC granted a 30-day extension upon Reyes’ request to be given more time to come up with a decision after it considered the huge volume of evidence and parties in the case.
Under court rules, all trial courts should promulgate their decision within the 90-day period after the case has been submitted for decision.
The Maguindanao massacre happened on the morning of Nov. 23, 2009, resulting in the death of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, the worst peace-time incident involving the killing of newsmen. Other victims were family members and supporters of the Ampatuan clan’s political foe, Esmael Mangudadatu, who eventually became the governor of Maguindanao, and now currently serving as the Second District Representative of the province. Benjamin Pulta / PNA – northboundasia.com