THE Quezon City Regional Trial Court yesterday junked for lack of merit the appeal of Maguindanao massacre case principal accused Andal Ampatuan Jr. to re-open the trial of the 58 counts of murder charges against him.
Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of QCRTC Branch 221 denied the motion filed by Ampatuan through his legal counsel Paul Laguatan.
In the motion, the accused sought the re-opening of the trial of the cases after one of the prosecution witnesses, Sukarno Badal, allegedly expressed his intention to recant his testimonies.
The accused claimed that on Oct. 4, 2019 Badal allegedly contacted him through a representative intimating he wanted to recant his testimony.
Badal, who was the former vice mayor of Sultan sa Barong municipality, apparently told Ampatuan’s representative that those he mentioned during the presentation of evidence against the accused were not all true.
But during the hearing of the motion on Oct. 17, the prosecution opposed the appeal claiming that there is no newly-discovered evidence to justify the re-opening of the trial.
The prosecution added that the supposed recantation of Badal is just an intention which can change anytime and that the accused should have secured the necessary judicial affidavit which should be attached to the motion.
Also during the hearing, Badal was called to the witness stand and denied having relayed to Ampatuan his intention to recant his testimony.
The witness further claimed that there is no truth to the statement in the motion saying that they were all made up by the accused to delay the case.
Badal also affirmed and confirmed all his testimonies in the proceedings of the cases.
The court also noted that despite the chance to conduct cross-examination on Badal, the accused lawyer chose not to.
“With the denial made by the prosecution witness Sukarno Badal of his intention to recant his previous testimony given on several dates, it is crystal clear that the ground relied upon by the accused-movant for the reopening of trial has no leg to stand on. Thus, the motion must perforce fail,” Judge Reyes said in her order.