Court grants bail petition of accused in 2009 Massacre

 (UPDATED)

Posted by ampatuan | Posted in Case Updates | Posted on 11-01-2015

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – A member of the Ampatuan clan allegedly involved in the Nov. 23 2009 Maguindanao Massacre may be temporarily released after the Quezon City trial court hearing the case approved his petition for bail last 9 January 2015 .

In a 12-page omnibus order, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of RTC Branch 221 granted the bail petition of Sajid Islam Ampatuan, a son of family patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., but denied the petitions of two other Ampatuans.   She declared that there was no evidence showing that Sajid Islam played an active role in the November 2009 meeting during which the blockade and murders were planned. He was simply there, said the court.

It was the 42nd bail petition granted by presiding Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes. But because the prosecution  filed last January 12 a motion asking the court to reconsider its decision granting Sajid Islam’s petition, the court has not allowed Islam to post bail while it resolves the issue.

“Taking into consideration his silence and non-participation notwithstanding the fact that he gave P2,000 to a witness for the latter to buy fish, the court finds, in its exercise of sound discretion, that the totality of the circumstances presently fails to reach the threshold of strong evidence of guilt.”

The court ordered Sajid Islam to pay a total of PHP11.6 million (approximately USD258,266) or PHP200,000 (USD4,453) for each count of murder, similar to the bail bond required of the 41 other accused.

Meanwhile, due to their utterances during meetings about the attack, the court denied the bail petitions of Akmad Tato Ampatuan and Anwar Ampatuan Sr. The court said that “Given the level of involvement in the planning – as depicted by the frequency of his attendance and by the utterances he made during the same meetings – this court is of the view that the evidence of guilt of Akmad ‘Tato’ is strong.” It was the third bail petition denied by the court. Judge Reyes denied the bail petition of Anwar for the same reason.

There are still 24 petitions for bail pending in court, out of which 18 are awaiting resolution while the others have yet to be submitted for decision. Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. has yet to present his rebuttal evidence in support of his bail petition this February 2015. Zaldy Ampatuan ended his presentation of rebuttal evidence last December 2014, but his petition has yet to be submitted for decision.