A QUEZON City court has given Maguindanao massacre principal accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. a non-extendable 15-day period to file his respective memoranda on the 58 counts of murder cases filed against him.
But in her two-page order, Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Regional Trial Court Branch 221 stressed the filing of the memorandum will not suspend the running of the period to decide on the cases.
The court has given the accused chance to submit his memorandum after granting the urgent motion for time to file memorandum filed on September 25, 2019 by Ampatuan’s newly-hired lawyer, Paul Laguatan.
In the same order, the court noted the entry of appearance of the Laguatan Law Offices for the accused.
Court records showed that on July 29, 2019, the accused and the prosecution were ordered to file their respective memorandum within 15 days after which the cased will be submitted for decision.
However, on Aug. 9, 2019 which is the last day of the filing of the memorandum, Ampatuan’ lawyer, Raymund Fortun has filed, with conformity of the accused, a motion to withdrew appearance as legal counsel.
On Aug. 15, 2019 the court granted Fortun’s withdrawal of appearance and appointed Atty. Armando Cura as Ampatuan’s counsel de oficio.
But on Aug. 20, 2019 Cura filed a manifestation informing the court that Ampatuan rejected him as his counsel which prompted the court to order the accused to look for a legal counsel of his choice within 15 days.
On Aug. 29, 2019, the court ordered submitting the cases for decision after it denied the appeal of the accused to give him three months to look for counsel.
Meanwhile, on Sept. 25, Ampatuan’s new lawyer filed his motion for entry of appearance as well as the motion for them to be given 15 days to submit the accused memorandum.
In his motion, Atty. Laguatan said that it must be noted that at the time of the filing of the motion for withdrawal of appearance by Fortun, the accused still had time to file his respective memorandum.
“Considering that the court granted the said motion to withdraw, such withdrawal of appearance should gave reckoned from the time of the filing of the said motion especially taking into account accused conformity,” as stated in the motion of the accused. Meanwhile, Judge Reyes granted the accused motion in the interest of justice.
A legal memorandum is a summary or outline of legal arguments being submitted by both parties, the prosecution and defense, after the culmination of presentation of all evidences. Once submitted, the court then will set the promulgation of the cases.