Lawyers reject 1st witness vs Ampatuan Sr.

By Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 23 2011 04:18 PM | Updated as of Jun 24 2011 12:21 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The lawyers of Andal Ampatuan Sr. have vehemently opposed the prosecution panel's first witness against the Ampatuan patriarch on grounds he should also have been included as an accused.

The court deferred the testimony  of Kenny Dalagdag until a motion filed against him is resolved.

The defense pointed out that Dalagdag executed an affidavit in December 2006 admitting involvement in the Maguindanao massacre.

Dalandag is allegedly a member of the Ampatuans' private army.

Atty. Sigfrid Fortun, counsel for Andal Sr. and son Andal Jr., reiterated his opposition to Dalandag's testimony because his conversion into state witness was in violation of Rule 119, Section 17 of the Rules of Court.

Prosecutor Nestor Lazaro, however, said Dalandag's admission to the government's witness protection program was made in accordance with the law on witness protection.

Some kin of the victims present in the hearing were disappointed at the suspension of Dalagdag's testimony, criticizing the prosecution for being ill-prepared.

Present in the hearing were the accused father and son of the Ampatuan clan, Andal Sr. and Andal Jr.