Supreme Court OKs transfer of massacre witnesses to Crame
- Edu Punay () - August 4, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Supreme Court (SC) approved yesterday the transfer of detained prosecution witnesses in the Maguindanao massacre from Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City to the Philippine National Police Custodial Center at Camp Crame, Quezon City.

Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez said he has granted the request of the Department of Justice (DOJ) through Judge Jocelyn Solis-Reyes of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 221, who handles the case, for the transfer of several accused who have been cooperating with the prosecution following reports of attempts to threaten or bribe them in the jail they share with prime suspects from the Ampatuan clan.

The approval of the SC was necessary for the transfer because it was the Court that had ordered the venue of the trial of the case and incarceration of all accused in the Taguig jail in an earlier order.

Marquez, who has jurisdiction over all trial courts in the country, approved the request after the leadership of PNP interposed no objection to the transfer through a letter he received from Deputy Director General Jefferson Soriano.

“While it could not be conclusive to think that the other prospective prosecution witnesses were likewise exposed to the same situation, the PNP finds it imperative to protect them to ensure their safety and to further serve the ends of justice,” stated the PNP letter received by the SC last Friday.

The PNP believes that the continued detention of prospective prosecution witnesses in Bicutan in close proximity with other accused “exposes them to physical harm, psychological pressure and undue influence that may adversely affect their determination and resolve to testify truthfully.”

In a five-page urgent motion last month, the prosecution – led by Assistant Chief State Prosecutor Richard Anthony Fadullon – requested Solis-Reyes to order the transfer of the police officers.

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.

In one incident, SPO2 Badawi Bakal, one of the co-accused, asked that he be transferred to another facility away from the Ampatuans after he allegedly received a direct threat from them last April 18 at around 10 a.m. in the Taguig jail.

In a handwritten letter addressed to the PNP chief, the detained policeman alleged that clan patriach, Andal Sr., and his son, Andal Jr., told him to sign an affidavit clearing them in the carnage or his family would be killed.

ABDULGANI ABIBUDIN ABDULLAH BAGUADATU ANDAL JR. ANDAL SR. ANTON RASID ASSISTANT CHIEF STATE PROSECUTOR RICHARD ANTHONY FADULLON BADAWI BAKAL CAMP BAGONG DIWA CAMP CRAME COURT ADMINISTRATOR JOSE MIDAS MARQUEZ DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
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