Zaldy Ampatuan's bail petition denied
MANILA, Philippines – A Quezon City court has denied the bail petition of former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, one of the main accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 denied Ampatuan's plea for bail in an order dated September 15, Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima said on Wednesday, September 16.
Ampatuan had been earlier suspended over the Maguindanao massacre – one of the worst election-related crimes in Philippine history where 58 people, including 32 journalists, were brutally killed.
The justice secretary said Ampatuan's petition for bail was denied on the strength of the evidence presented by the prosecution.
“I have never doubted for a single moment the strength of the evidence of the State against the principal accused in the Maguindanao massacre case. The denial of the bail petition of Zaldy Ampatuan only shows that the focus of the DOJ prosecution team on this case is unwavering," De Lima said.
“Pursuant to settled procedure and jurisprudence, the accused will remain in detention throughout the duration of the trial until conviction and sentencing,” she added.
The prosecution's evidence admitted by the court includes some 300 pieces of exhibits and testimonies, including witness statements, medico-legal reports, autopsy pictures, records from telecommunication companies, and sketches of cadavers.
Also included were the testimonies of Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu, former Ampatuan vice mayor Rasul Sangki, accused-turned-state witnesses Sukarno Badal and Esmael Canapia, and eyewitnesses Noh Akil, Lakmodin Saliao, and Esmail Amil Enog.
Aside from the former ARMM governor, two other Ampatuans face murder charges over the massacre: his father, the late Andal Ampatuan Sr who died last July 17, and brother Andal Ampatuan Jr. – Rappler.com