The Court of Appeals (CA) has upheld the bail grant to 16 policemen who were among those indicted before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in connection with the November 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
In a three-page resolution penned by Associate Justice Jhosep Lopez, the appellate court’s 10th Division denied the government’s motion for reconsideration (MR) that sought a reversal of its July 2017 ruling upholding the decision of the Quezon City RTC Branch 221 which allowed the temporary liberty of PO1 Heirich Amaba, PO3 Rasid Anton, PO3 Felix Enate, PO1 Esprielito Lejarso, PO1 Narkouk Mascud, SPO1 Eduardo Hong, PO2 Saudi Pasuta, PO1 Arnulfo Soriano, PO1 Pia Kamidon, PO3 Abibudin Abdulgani, PO2 Hamad Nana, PO1 Esmael Guilal, SPO1 Oscar Donato, PO1 Abdullah Baguadatu, PO2 Saudiar Ulah, and Insp. Michael Joy Macaraeg.
The appellate court said all issues raised in the MR had been passed upon in the challenged decision.
“[T]he Court is convinced that no new and legitimate ground was raised to reverse or set aside the Court’s earlier finding… even on second hard look no cogent reason surfaces to warrant the reconsideration sought,” the resolution stated.
State prosecutors argued that the assailed decision was tainted with grave abuse of discretion because it disregarded material facts vital in establishing the guilt of the policemen.
In granting the policemen’s bail plea, Quezon City RTC Branch 221 President Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes said the prosecution failed to present evidence to link them to incidents prior to and during the killings of 58 individuals, mostly journalists and female members of the Mangudadatu political clan.
Over 190 persons stand accused for the multiple murder cases, several of whom are key members of rival Ampatuan family, including their late patriarch, Andal Ampatuan, Sr., and his sons, Andal Jr. and Zaldy Ampatuan.
The carnage has been described as the worst election-related violence in the Philippines and the biggest single attack on journalists worldwide.