De Lima wants state witnesses away from Ampatuans
- Edu Punay () - July 23, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has sought immediate transfer of potential state witnesses in the Maguindanao massacre case to another cell inside the Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

In a press conference yesterday, she confirmed that these possible witnesses – mostly policemen who were also named accused in the case – were being harassed by some of the Ampatuans who are just bars away from them.

De Lima said she asked the Department of Interior and Local Government, which has supervision over the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), to immediately bring the detained officers away from the other accused after a “near violent confrontation” between them over the weekend.

She made the request through a letter to DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo Tuesday pending action of the prosecution’s request for the transfer of the state witnesses from Taguig jail to the custodial center of the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame. She revealed that they are now waiting for the action of the trial court handling the case after their request was already approved by the PNP.

“So while waiting for the court to rule on the motion for the accused PNP officers be transferred from the Camp Bagong Diwa to Camp Crame or other PNP detention cell or jail, under the custody of the police, there is an urgent need to separate and transfer them to another cell also inside the Camp Bagong Diwa compound temporarily. This is until such time they allowed by the court to be transferred from Camp Bagong Diwa and be held under the custody of the PNP,” she explained.

De Lima said her move is to ensure safety of all detained accused of the Nov. 23, 2009 massacre in Maguindanao that claimed the lives of 57 people, most of them mediamen.

In a five page urgent motion, the prosecution requested Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221 to order the transfer of the police officers from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to the PNP Custodial Center at Camp Crame.

“There are compelling reasons for herein accused to be transferred back to the PNP Custodial Center to ensure their safety and security so that they can testify truthfully, free from any threat, undue influence and physical harm,” said the prosecutors led by Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon.

The police officers wanting to be transferred include Inspector Sukarno Dicay, SPO1 Eduardo Ong, PO3 Felix Enate Jr., PO3 Anton Rasid, PO3 Abdulgani Abibudin, PO2 Saudi Pasutan, PO2 Nana Hamad, PO2 Saudiar Ulah, PO2 Hernani Saulong Decupido Jr., PO1 Esmael Guialal, PO1 Abdullah Baguadatu, PO1 Esprielito Lejarso, PO1 Herich Amaba and PO1 Michael Madsig.

ABDULGANI ABIBUDIN ABDULLAH BAGUADATU ANTON RASID ASSISTANT CHIEF STATE PROSECUTOR RICHARD ANTHONY FADULLON BUREAU OF JAIL MANAGEMENT AND PENOLOGY CAMP CAMP BAGONG DIWA CAMP CRAME CUSTODIAL CENTER DE LIMA TAGUIG CITY
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