By Chito Chavez
A Quezon City court gave the prosecution and defense panels in the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre case 15 days within which to submit their respective memoranda before it resolves the 58 counts of murder charges filed against at least 93 accused, including principal suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr.
Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the QCRTC Branch 221 issued the one-page order after Ampatuan failed to comment on the Formal Offer of Rebuttal Evidence filed by the prosecution panel on Jan. 7, 2019 despite giving him the chance to comment or oppose said offer within five days.
The prosecution’s formal offer asked the court to admit Exhibit “(20) P” and sub-markings – a Sworn Statement of a prosecution witness consisting of five pages – as part of their evidence against Ampatuan.
In view of Ampatuan’s failure to comment on said offer of evidence, the court has admitted the said exhibits as part of the prosecution panel’s evidence.”
Court sources said the promulgation of the case will be scheduled once both parties have submitted their respective memorandum.
A legal memorandum is a case summary or short synopsis of a case and must include legal arguments and should contain legal citations that support the legal arguments being put forward in the memorandum.
“The submission of the memorandum of both parties is normally the last step in court proceedings before the case will be resolved but we can never tell if any of the parties will resort to delaying tactics by filing other manifestations or motions,” the sources said.
But the sources noted that in the event there are no more pleadings, the court will immediately set the promulgation of the case.
Based on the court’s records, at least 92 accused, including Ampatuan, are awaiting the verdict of their case.
Originally, there were 197 people charged for the killing of at least 58 persons, including 32 members of the media that took place on Nov. 23, 2009, in Maguindanao.
Out of those charged, 117 were arrested.
But of the 117 arrested accused, there were six, including Ampatuan patriarch Andal Ampatuan Sr., who died while their cases are being tried in court.
Records also showed that the cases of four accused were dismissed after their demurrer to evidence were granted, two accused were dropped from the information while another turned state witness.
Eleven other accused, including the patriarch’s son Andal Jr., nephew Sajid Islam Ampatuan, and 10 other police officers, are now out on bail after posting P11.6-million each surety bond.