Supreme Court

The Supreme Court (SC) junked with finality the request to be released on bail of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan on 58 counts of murder for the Maguindanao massacre case.

Supreme Court First Division dismissed for lack of merit Ampatuan’s plea to post bail for his alleged involvement in the 2009 massacre.

In a resolution released by SC First Division promulgated on July 22, 2019, it stated that the petitioner failed to prove a “reversible error” on Court of Appeal’s (CA) first decision.

The higher court further explained that if they will take into consideration the evidence presented by Ampatuan and rule on its admissibility and probative value, they would have prematurely ruled on the case.

“By deciding for or against his bail application on the basis of factual issues raised by petitioner, the Court will be prematurely deciding the case beyond the parameters of judicial review at this stage of the proceedings and pre-empt the parties from presenting their respective evidence during trial,” the Supreme Court said.

“The Court must defer making a conclusion on this matter since the participation of conspirators, principals, accomplices, and accessories are matters adjudged as a whole at the conclusion of the evidence-in-chief,” the high court added.

Several members of the Ampatuan clan were accused of plotting the massacre, intended to thwart the political plans of their rival, incumbent Maguindanao Governor Esmael G. Mangudadatu, in the 2010 elections. Mr. Mangudadatu’s wife was among those killed in the massacre.

Out of the 197 accused, 15 were from the Ampatuan clan. Of the suspects, 115 have already been arrested, while 103 are still awaiting trial.

(With reports from Bombo Jerald B. Ulep)